Cardinal sends message to charismatic Catholics gathered in Dubai

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Some 3,000 charismatic Catholics living in the Persian Gulf gathered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for praise and worship and to reflect on God's call to "be holy, for I am holy."

Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, sent a message to participants at the beginning of the Dec. 1-3 meeting, telling them the biblical call means Christians must do more than avoid sin.

To be holy is to be "full of goodness and completely alien to evil," the cardinal wrote to participants who came from Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and were meeting at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Dubai.

Reborn through baptism, a Christian's desires are "no longer only earthly, but they are desires for good, justice, truth, fraternity and love," Cardinal Farrell wrote.

And, as everyone knows, he said, it is not a process that takes place once and for all but requires a renewed commitment each day to growing in holiness and virtue.

Being holy like God is holy also implies entering into relationships as he does, the cardinal said. "God elected an insignificant people, moreover enslaved and oppressed, and made them the recipients of care, fatherly and motherly attention, and led them to freedom and peace."

So, he said, being like God is "an invitation addressed to each person to become neighbors to their brothers and sisters, to enter into a relationship of closeness, of care, of love with others, especially with those who are suffering, those who are oppressed, those who are enslaved, not only to external situations of unjust oppression, but also those who are enslaved within by sin, by vice, by the lack of hope and meaning in life."

God's holiness also is expressed through the Trinity, a unity of love that draws the Father, Son and Spirit into communion, he said. That implies that Christians must strive "to relive the mystery of unity in diversity, of perfect communion of spirit, intent and desires, while fully affirming one's own personality in every aspect of life."

Finally, Cardinal Farrell said, being holy like God is holy means being always ready to forgive.

God "is not blinded by resentment and anger, rather he is capable of compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation," the cardinal wrote. Being holy as God is holy "means that we, too, are called to become capable of compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation."