On Becoming Holy

 


Young Woman Sweeping, Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916)

 

 

I AM guessing that most of my readers feel that they are not holy. That holiness, saintliness, is in fact an impossibility in this life. We say, “I am too weak, too sinful, too frail to ever rise to the ranks of the righteous.” We read Scriptures like the following, and feel they were written on a different planet:

…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 Pet 1:15-16)

Or a different universe:

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48)

Impossible? Would God ask us—no, command us—to be something that we cannot? Oh yes, it is true, we cannot be holy without Him, He who is the source of all holiness. Jesus was blunt:

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

The truth is—and Satan wishes to keep it far from you—holiness is not only possible, but it is possible right now.

 

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Just Today

 

 

GOD wants to slow us down. More than that, He wants us to rest, even in chaos. Jesus never rushed to His Passion. He took the time to have a last meal, a last teaching, an intimate moment of washing another’s feet. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He set aside time to pray, to gather His strength, to seek the will of the Father. So as the Church approaches her own Passion, we too should imitate our Savior and become a people of rest. In fact, only in this way can we possibly offer ourselves as true instruments of “salt and light.”

What does it mean to “rest”?

When you die, all worrying, all restlessness, all passions cease, and the soul is suspended in a state of stillness… a state of rest. Meditate on this, for that should be our state in this life, since Jesus calls us to a state of “dying” while we live:

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it…. I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (Matt 16:24-25; John 12:24)

Of course, in this life, we cannot help but wrestle with our passions and struggle with our weaknesses. The key, then, is not to let yourself be caught up in the rushing currents and impulses of the flesh, in the tossing waves of the passions. Rather, dive deep into the soul where the Waters of the Spirit are still.

We do this by living in a state of trust.

 

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