What is holiness? Is it all about “doing” good things for God? Good things certainly must be done, such as volunteering, giving retreats, or participating in a variety of charitable activities. However, it’s a mistake to think that you need to “do” everything. Holiness does not belong to the domain of “doing,” but to the domain of “being.”
Yes, it is necessary to serve; yes, but we do this as a response to God’s love, not from self-sufficiency. Yes, it is necessary to follow the teachings of our faith; but we do not trust in man-made rules, but in a person: Jesus. It is necessary to talk, yes, but not “about” profound things, but in a profound way.
To embark on the adventure of holiness, there are three basic attitudes to exercise: giving thanks, asking for forgiveness, and acceptance. I give thanks for the grace that God offers us in every situation. I ask forgiveness for my own blindness and bad decisions. I accept that I am not the center of the story; Jesus is!
I can exercise these three attitudes every day to sanctify my daily life and live gracefully. Like a tree in the Garden of Eden, I must put down roots of thanksgiving. God fertilizes me with His mercy. And thus I stretch out my branches (arms!) towards the Heaven. There, in the Church, the weary can rest in the shade, and the hungry can feed on the fruit. In the Church, I can help to guide wanderers upward to their true home: Heaven.
Fr. Nelson Faria SJ
(Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – Portugal)