Friday, October 5, 2018

Reason no. 4 why I remain Catholic: Holiness

God is holy!

God created us in His likeness and image. (Genesis 1:27)

Therefore we too are called to be holy!

If it were only that simple, right? Striving to be holy is not only not simple, it sounds absolutely crazy! Let's face it. It's absolutely countercultural. Holiness is just not a part of our vocabulary these days.

Successful? Yes!

Ambitious? Absolutely!

Do what makes you happy? Of course! Why wouldn't you?

I discovered a while back, through the school of hard-knocks that all these things, you know, the stuff that really make you happy...well, they don't. They just don't deliver on their promise of true happiness. At least it didn't make me happy.

After my conversion I realized that I needed something more in my life other than making money, paying bills and being successful. There is nothing wrong with being successful however I longed for something more. I longed to be fulfilled and what I was doing, was just not fulfilling. So I began my search and began to pray.

Then I discovered Saint John Paul II; then Pope John Paul II. I began to read his documents and listen to his words and he always managed to reach those crevices of my heart that yearned for something more. And then he said this:

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.” 

Those words he spoke at Tor Vergata, Rome on August 19th, 2000. The jubilee year and the gathering of young people from all over the world at the eighth "World Youth Days."

Those words changed my life. I knew that my yearning for more was not only found in Jesus but found in what He was calling me to do. To be holy! In other words, to be happy.

My life was not meant to be just any ordinary life. We all believe that, right? But why do we believe this? Why do we believe that we must be greater than just plain old ordinary? Why do we intuitively feel that there is more to life? Why do we seek it in a career, a relationship, a place, or in material things? Because God has placed that desire in our hearts from time immemorial. He created us in His image and He is holy! It's like He handed us a compass but somehow it got busted along the way and so we don't know where to search for this "more than ordinary life."

"Young people of every continent, do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium! Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters, be active members of the Church and builders of peace. To succeed in this demanding project of life, continue to listen to His Word, draw strength from the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance. The Lord wants you to be intrepid apostles of his Gospel and builders of a new humanity." Rome 2000

Do not be afraid! We cannot be afraid of what we were created to be! We were created to be holy, to be saints.

There is nothing more exciting! There is nothing more challenging! There is nothing more perfect because it is why we were created.

So here's the catch: I am not even close to being holy. I am, in many ways, far from it. Those closest to me can probably attest to this. But, my faults, my flaws, my sinfulness is not a stumbling block because God's grace is far greater. All we have to do is get up every morning and try again. Pray some more and strive to be "builders of a new humanity" and in turn God will build us anew.

"Be a saint - What else is there?" (Patrick Coffin)

Disclaimer: Geralt @pixabay

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