What Does Holiness Mean?

What Does Holiness Mean?

Today we welcome guest blogger Jim Van Vurst, OFM. Jim, along with Jack Wintz, OFM, write Friar Jack’s E-spirations.

The word holiness can have a discouraging effect on people. Some immediately dismiss it since they feel that holiness is way beyond their reach. They think of their failures and sins, and figure that if they could only get rid of them, then they could start thinking about holiness. Others become frustrated since they have sincerely tried most of their lives to be holy and, in the end, see themselves as advancing nowhere near holiness. 

Given all those difficulties, it’s no wonder that many believe that their busy but humdrum lives weigh them down like cinderblocks tied to their ankles. Though it is understandable to think that way, it draws a totally false conclusion because the initial premise is wrong.

First of all, people mistakenly link holiness with perfection. It’s like they say, “Well, I’m not holy enough to be holy.” There are no perfect people, and there are no perfect saints. Saints would be the first ones to proclaim their failings and sins.

But once you understand what holiness truly is, then the how about holiness is simple.

Ready for the answer? Holiness is union with God. And how do we become holy? Simply by seeking God’s will in our lives!

Now I can hear the complaints: “It’s too complicated for me. I’m not a theologian”; “I’ve got three children under 12 and I’m short on patience”; “I have two teenagers”; “My husband left me”; “I’m out of work”; “I struggle with sex and sexuality”; “I’m not sure I trust God’s will because it’s going to make my life even harder”; “I’m an alcoholic.”

But the above objections are not really blocks to seeking God’s will. Finding God’s will? It is right before our eyes.

How? Simple. Ask yourself right now what God wants you to do this moment. You are in God’s will. What will you do afterwards? And for this we find that God’s will is right before my eyes if I ask, “What does my life right now call me to do?”

God is not calling us to great self-denial and penances. He’s just reminding us what we do most of the time naturally. It’s about anything we do that is not sinful. Relaxing on the front porch, cooking a meal, driving to work, or whatever you are doing. In fact, anything that is not a sin—and we are pretty smart in knowing what is and is not a sin—is perfectly all right.

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  • Eddie

    Good stuff, thank-you