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Holiness means being open to God, pope says


  • Pope Francis kisses a baby as he arrives for his general audience June 21 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis receives a letter from a girl as he arrives for his general audience June 21 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis arrives for his general audience June 21 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis is presented with an American football helmet during a meeting with members of American Pro Football Hall of Fame June 21 at the Vatican. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
  • Pope Francis arrives for his general audience June 21 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)
  • Pope Francis leads his general audience June 21 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Being a saint doesn't require spending long hours in prayer, but rather living life open to God in good times and in bad, Pope Francis said.

Christians should live with the "hope of becoming saints" and with the desire that "work, even in sickness and suffering, even in difficulties, is open to God," the pope said June 21 during his weekly general audience.

"We think that it is something difficult, that it is easier to be delinquents than saints. No! We can become saints because the Lord helps us. It is he who helps us," he told the estimated 12,000 pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.

Pope Francis rode around in his popemobile, stopping along the way to greet pilgrims and kiss babies. One child casually waved goodbye to the pope as he was handed back to his parents.

In his talk, the pope reflected on the intercession of the saints, who are "older brothers and sisters who have gone along our same path, (gone through) our same struggles and live forever in God's embrace."

"Their existence tells us above all that Christian life isn't an unattainable ideal. And together, they comfort us: We are not alone, the church is made up of innumerable brothers and sisters, often anonymous, who have preceded us and who, through the action of the Holy Spirit, are involved in the affairs of those who still live here," he said.

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