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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

the apostles,

where we are gathered together into your community.

Praise be to you, Lord, for the cleansing power of Baptism

and Penance

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.