Lord Jesus, I believe in you because you are the truth itself, and you reveal to me more and more the meaning and purpose of my life. I trust in you because every day you are there waiting for me, knocking at my door, always ready to forgive, always ready to draw me close to you in prayer and the sacraments. I love you because you gave your entire self for me on the Cross and taught me what it means to fulfill myself in love. Help me to progress toward genuine holiness today and always. Amen.
Lord, help me to appreciate that holiness and humility go hand in hand. Make me aware of any inconsistency in my life between thoughts and judgments on the one hand, and words and actions on the other. Let me be a genuine Christian through and through. Protect me from the subjectivism and vanity that can cast a spell over me, obscuring the way I see my life and conduct. Give me steadfastness, sincerity and integrity in following you.
1. Christ is the Image of our Holiness:
Is not the Pursuit of the “Perfect Self.” We all live with this alter ego, this other —perfect— self, a self that exists in the realm of imagination. That self has been with us since we were kids: that star player on our school sports team, that rock star, that Hollywood teen idol that we all wanted to become. Then as we grew older, perhaps that “self” became a Pulitzer-Prize-winning cancer researcher or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
That same self can become the spiritual superhero in our most secret fantasies about Christian holiness. At very least, we easily fall prey to imagining our holy self also as that perfect, faultless, individual — no weaknesses, no difficulties, immaculate. It is a self that we think we could become one day if we could just get rid of so many faults! . A fantasy through and through! The pursuit of holiness is not the pursuit of some ideal, “perfect” self. No! Only God knows what our ultimate holiness will be like. Our goal is not the achievement of this imagined self, but rather of Christ. He is both source and summit of our holiness.
2. Holiness is Allowing God to Take the
Not the Subjective Sense of “Having It All Together.” It is not uncommon for us to discover in the autobiographies of saints their own recollections of a kind of spiritual clumsiness, of a profound sense of inadequacy in the face of God’s call.
It is not unusual to find that a growing surrender to God that leaves with interior confusion, uncertainty and all manner of interior trials. In modern terms, we might say they didn’t seem to “have it together.” Don’t we, especially as beginners in the spiritual life, experience something like this at times?
When we give ourselves to God, and we decide to take our call to holiness seriously, we can’t forget to allow God into the driver’s seat. That means we have to let go. We have to give him control in our pursuit of holiness. Then, and only then, will that pursuit be genuine.
3. The Lowly Will be Exalted:
Growth in Holiness Entails Growing in Humility. Holiness does not mean freedom from faults, or the external attainment of some supposed semblance of virtue. On the contrary, as growth in holiness brings our soul more fully into the divine light, God enables us to see our soul more and more as he does. That means we discover more areas of sinfulness, and we see the root sins of our lives (pride and sensuality) in greater, albeit disturbing, clarity. No wonder so many saints frequented sacramental confession once a week, if not more often!
While holiness certainly entails growth in virtue and a consistency in remaining in the state of grace, it hardly means the absence of faults, failures and venial sins of all sorts. What is fundamental is not spotless-ness, but a genuine giving of self to God and to his will. Perhaps this is why St. Augustine once explained that, in the pursuit of holiness, three virtues are fundamental: the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is … humility!
Lord Jesus, thank you because you have made holiness a possibility for me! Thank you because you show me, one day at a time, how to grow in your friendship. And I know that holiness is precisely this: friendship with you. If you are with me, and I never freely forfeit your loving kindness, then I have no reason to fear in the midst of darkness, disturbance, confusion, surprise and apparent setbacks that are so frequent along my path. Help me to understand that you use these as building blocks for my holiness. Help me to take advantage even of my falls and to use them as opportunities to grow in humility. Let me never doubt you; let me never doubt my vocation to holiness. Amen.
Today, if I fall, I will admit my fault to God (with the intention of confessing any serious matter as soon as possible), get back up quickly, and keep going.
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