Chapter 11. The Four Marks of the Church • 139
• Those who live a life consecrated to God profess the evangelical
counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in a stable state of life
recognized by the Church. They solemnly promise to surrender
themselves to God with an undivided heart, thus liberating them-
selves to serve God, the Church, and the needs of others.
God first called the Israelites to holiness: “You shall be holy because I
am holy” (Lv 11:45). St. Peter repeated this command of the Lord for
the Christian people. “As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves
in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, ‘Be holy because I [am]
holy’” (1 Pt 1:15-16). God addresses this call to every member of the
Church. He begins the life of holiness in us at our Baptism when we
are made partakers of divine life through the gift of sanctifying grace.
Holiness is a gift, which the Holy Spirit continually offers us. It should
bear fruit in us as we live out our love of God, our neighbor, and our-
selves; grow in virtue; and work for justice and mercy for all, especially
the poor and defenseless.
Praised be to you, Lord, for your holy Church founded on
where we are gathered together into your community.
Praise be to you, Lord, for the cleansing power of Baptism
that you have entrusted to your apostles,
through which we are cleansed of our sins.
—Intercessions from Common of the Apostles,
Liturgy of the Hours
, vol. III, 1668
The Church is the Bride of Christ.
Come let us worship Christ, the Bridegroom of his Church.