Trust in Him

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Holiness

Be perfect, as God in heaven is perfect.
If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity,
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.


God calls every human being to holiness... but what is holiness and how is it obtained? What makes one holy, and how does it affect one's life? These are important questions to ask us, especially as we discern the path we will take to holiness. I will answer these questions as I have answered them in my own discernment in the hope that others will benefit from it.

I have heard holiness defined in many ways... some say it is goodness and righteousness, some say that it denotes worship and service of God... but the most comprehensible definition I've heard is this: holiness is closeness to God. We are called to be holy first and foremost, it is our main responsibility. If we do not constantly strive for holiness in our own lives, we cannot hope to inspire others to holiness. If we are holy then we will first be moved to give God all that is do Him--ourselves and everything that belongs to us--and then we will be moved to act according to His pleasure. Indeed, holiness is a gift from God, and is only obtained from His hands.

Holiness is not easy to cultivate in ourselves. The holier we become, the more we begin to understand our own faults and the immensity of redemption. We begin to see and think with the mind and eyes of God, and often the intensity of reality is difficult to bear. The saints suffered the most spiritual trials, because they understood the evilness of sin. When one is hit with such a painful reality as we see when the veil of ignorance is drawn from our eyes, one is moved to heroic acts in every day life. The saints, our models of holiness, suffered the hardest temptations and agonies in silence, because they were able to understand how minor their troubles were when Jesus died on the cross.

Holiness itself is growth, because one can never be completely holy. One who is holy has access to the Fountain of Wisdom and Knowledge, and drinks there daily. Failings and foolish things in ourselves become more and more apparent to us, and we find more and more objectively exactly what we must fix in ourselves. The person who is growing in holiness will also find himself yearning for virtues that he cannot seem to grasp, and he will be ever striving to obtain them. An interesting thing that one would quickly notice is how substantial the stages of this growth are, because the learning takes place within each moment, new graces flare up often and from seemingly no where. One who is holy lives ever in a rapidly progressing journey, but is the same time at peace.

One of the greatest qualities of holiness is peace. A heart may be torn from temptations, a spirit mourning in loneliness, or a body racked with pain.. and still the person is at peace if he is holy. The reason for this is that God Himself is the peace of one who is close to Him, He is eternal contentedness. It is not a characteristic that is inside of a person, but it is as tangible and accessible as Christ Himself. In holiness a person finds faith, hope, and love. The eternal becomes so real that God, Giver of Peace, is naturally the most important Being to this person, and nothing takes precedence or even seems important in the face of God and His plan. This person is confident in the final victory, and almost desperate in his loving attempts to bring as many souls to God as possible, for God's sake and for love of God's children because they are children of God. To a person who is full of holiness, who embodies the Holy Spirit Himself, everything is turned to good because God is good.

But how is holiness obtained? It is difficult to come by holiness oneself, unless he has been granted an extraordinary soul by the gift of God. One must seek holiness, and pray for it. By striving to do always the will of God, praying regularly, and asking God to make us more holy, we begin on this journey. We should state our willingness to take up the Cross and walk the difficult road to heaven, and ask that God lay His Burden upon us so that we might have the grace to carry it. Such prayers offered for God's sake alone can help us to obtain holiness from His hand, and we can also take measures of our own to improve ourselves. By keeping journals of our thoughts we can examine our shortcomings and strive to correct them in our daily activities. In habitual prayer throughout the day we can keep God in our minds and see how He reveals Himself throughout the day.

Dear Jesus, I ask You now to make me holy. I hope and pray that through a life of serving You, and striving to bring You pleasure, You may find my heart worthy of Your gifts of grace so that I may become closer to You. I love You, and wish to give You everything I have and am. Make me holy and wise for Your sake, do not scorn my humble supplication and poor impoverished efforts.. but show that You love me also, and come to my aid.

3 comments:

  1. Sadie, I whole heartedly agree with you that holiness is more orientation than destination. I see the compass a an apt picture of Jesus' teaching on the broad and narrow ways.

    The compass has 360 degrees. Jesus' narrow way is one degree the broad way is 359 degrees. If our orientation is on His one degree then we are holy in that we are on the narrow way regardless of how diverse our lives are from each other.

    However, if I am standing next to you, physically and in similar interest, but only oriented off by one degree I am not on the narrow path and do not journey with you as before long we will part. The moment I orient on The One Degree I am on the narrow path and again am a fellow traveler.

    "Be perfect for I am perfect" is a call for us to agree in His coordinates. In Him we already have the destination. On the path we grow in Him. We like St. John the Baptizer, must rightly claim, "He must increase. I must decrease."

    Only He is impeccable. We are holy as we are set aside to and for Him in our path of His single degree.

    St. Patrick's Lorica is a prayer of orientation. Our inner compass and guiding beacon is Christ.

    I wish I was on the path as early as you are. You are a wise woman of God.

    Bill

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  2. Thank you for this illustration of holiness, it has given me some precious moments of meditation. No matter where we are on our spiritual growth... if our orientation is on God alone, we have found the path of holiness.

    May God bless you for these words!
    Sadie

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  3. thanks a lot for this info :) it helped a lot for my thoughts.

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