Holy Tuesday: How do we become holy?
How do we become holy?
It’s a worthy question. There are so many ideas about what defines holiness… and sometimes it’s hard to figure out. The Church says that all people are called to be holy… in who we are and how we live.
Before we begin our Triduum retreat, take some time today to think about your own sense of holiness. Do you feel holy? Or not? Either way… it’s okay. Don’t feel guilty if there are things about yourself that you want to hide. We all have those hidden selves and choices that we’re not proud of.
Key thoughts to remember on your retreat
Holiness is nothing more than becoming your authentic self. Key word here: authentic. This isn’t about narcissism but about having faith in yourself as a human creation of God. Become who you are meant to be in God’s eyes.
Effort and difficulty are adversaries of spiritual development. i.e., the harder you try, the more you fail… probably because you’re not being your authentic self (see above). Artificial prayer and contrived spiritual practices are like forced conversation… they never feel or fit right. And if it doesn’t feel or fit right, why would you keep doing it?
Accept your own vulnerability. Love becomes strong when you’re not afraid to admit that you need help… with everything. Vulnerability is not a matter of self-pity or woundedness; it means allowing yourself to be human… and dependent… and worthy of being loved even when there is nothing you have done to earn it.
Accept where you are in life. Avoid working to create a false self in endless pursuit of achievement which invites people to consider your record rather than your heart, your resume in place of your presence. Humanity is limited; God has created you to bloom.
Use your natural human emotions for spiritual growth. Anger / greed / selfishness show us as much about ourselves as love / peace / forgiveness.
Reject the tendency to organize life rigidly. Ardent religious and spiritual seekers tend to believe there is a “right” way… which is merely another means of wanting to control the journey. Sorry, but God doesn’t work that way.
Jesus did not strain to be who he was. He didn’t teach in fancy or mysterious words. He told stories and parables… opening the way to God for everyone through him.
We need a strong spiritual life to help us maintain the commitments and responsibilities of the everyday. So remember this:
- Be yourself.
- Let holiness emerge from the way you live.
- Do not seek or avoid vulnerability. Let it come.
- Become peaceful wherever you are.
- Develop your emotional horizons.
- Do not organize and program life rigidly.
(But don’t take my word for it… these thoughts come from Trappist monk Thomas Merton <– click to look at a great book!)
Tomorrow… Holy Wednesday: Remind Me Who I Am