Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The pursuit of holiness

Following up yesterday's post, here are a few more thoughts on the pursuit of holiness.

A desire will grow stronger with more motivation. Although our baptism committed us to pursuing holiness, it still needs to become a personal desire. Why desire it? One compelling reason is that life on earth is short and will soon come to an end, even if a person lives to be 100. What is that in comparison with eternal life?

Here's a little exercise to bring that home. Take your present age and double it. Do you realistically expect to live that long? If not, you've already lived more than half your life on earth. It will be fewer years from now until your death than from your birth until now. And that's assuming that no accident or sudden illness cuts it prematurely short.

St. Francis Borgia was the Duke of Gandia in Spain. He served the Queen Isabella of Portugal, who was very beautiful. She died while still rather young and beautiful. When Francis saw her in the coffin, he was shocked at how the ravages of death had already stolen her beauty. This incident helped him take a turn in his spiritual life and he later became a Jesuit priest.


Michael said...

Hi Sister,

I think it is great that you have started on this topic. I am afraid I do not have many thoughts on this topic, but I definitely find your writing inspiring. One thought that occurred to me is that it will take an immense amount of - courage, to even to make the decision to embark on and commit to such a path in life, and it will be a very..very..very, very, tough, sad and difficult path to trod, once decided upon and committed. (sigh)

Is my thought on this correct, or a misinformed one?

Thank you.


Sr. Lorraine said...

Hello Michael,

Thank you for your thoughts on this topic. You are correct in that the spiritual journey does involve the cross and can certainly be difficult at times.
Yet, the Holy Spirit also lives in us and gives us the gift of joy, one of the fruits of the Spirit.
Our foundress, Mother Thecla, once said, "You cannot always be happy but you can always be at peace." I think that's a good way of putting it. God also gives us consolations along the way. Sometimes the devil tries to discourage us with thoughts that make it seem too difficult to try and be holy. We can try and discern where the thought is coming from. The Holy Spirit always brings peace. When you are trying to live a good life, thoughts that lead to discouragement are often from the evil spirit. The Holy Spirit doesn't want to discourage us. However, if a person is straying from God, the Holy Spirit might "sting" his conscience with unsettling thoughts about his way of life. That is to lead the person to conversion.

michael said...

Thank you for the encouraging guidance, Sister Lorraine, and for sharing what Mother Thecla said about being at peace. She is, indeed, very spiritual to be able to discern the difference.

If you would permit, I hope to continue this dialog on this topic.

As you mentioned, the first step is a desire to be holy/be a saint. I think this desire will occur to the majority of people at one time or another, but most too, I think will brush aside the thought sooner or later due to the pressures of earning a living, responsibility to family, etc. Some too, will not pursue the thought after some time for various reasons, and some feeling that they are not the ones falling under the category 'It is I who chose you first.'

How does one then persist, or should one give up because one is 'not called' to be holy? Just wondering.

Perhaps related to what's one's goal in life, is, how does one go about answering the question, 'Who am I?'?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all with you, Sister Lorraine.


michael said...

Hi Sister Lorraine,

I feel very small that you have ignored my posting. I hope I have not being rude, or my posting was inappropriate - I only posted because you have asked for thoughts on this topic.

I shan't be bothering your blog any more, and won't be returning here again.

Thank you and God be with you.


Sr. Lorraine said...

In case you should see this, Michael, no, your post was not inappropriate, not at all.
Actually, with all that was going on with Christmas, etc., I was not able to do too much blogging, which is why I didn't respond to your comment, not because I wanted to ignore it.
It is a good thought. God calls all of us to holiness, even if we forget about it and think of other things. He calls us into a relationship with himself, and holiness is a deepening of the relationship.