I’ve been reading a lot about holiness during these last few weeks. I don’t know whether it’s the liturgical time of year, the Saints whose feast days we celebrated in July, or the fact that I have just now noticed how many books are written about growing holy. Lately I’ve seen titles such as, How to Be Holy, Holiness: A Guide for Beginners, Call to Holiness, and Called to Be Holy. I even saw two books with the same title, Holiness. Then there are also books with the S word. How to Become a Saint: A Beginner’s Guide and Heaven Starts Now: Becoming a Saint Day by Day are two.
Admittedly I’ve only read one of these books though I’ve skimmed several on amazon preview. That’s due to a combination of my ornery self that says, “How do they know how to be holy? What makes them the experts?” and my easily discouraged self that says, “I’m far from heroic in anything let alone virtue, so why bother?”
After much serious thought about holiness and sainthood I’ve concluded that I’m not supposed to be trying to be holy or become a saint. I’m supposed to work on keeping my moods in check and my mouth shut. I’m also supposed to keep guard on my thoughts that they don’t become negative, self-defeating, bitter over past hurts and betrayals, or frightened of the future.
I have decided that thinking about how to be holy is not very holy at all. It’s more productive and enjoyable to notice things to be grateful for, like the fact that I no longer berate myself, something I did for many years. The fact that I can now notice a rainbow or beautiful sunset to the point of losing track of a conversation is enough to create a sense of awe when I think about it. The same is true with my ability to become excited over good news, grow teary-eyed when someone else is in pain, and have my heart melt around old people and little children. These are clearly miraculous gifts when you come from where I have come from.
So, I don’t think I need to read all those books on how to be holy and how to be a saint. I think it’s wiser to keep my nose to the ground and just work very hard at managing my insides in relationship to my environment and the people in it, getting a little extra help when I get stuck in dysfunctional patterns. I’m sure all of you will agree, that’s plenty to have on one’s plate.
God is in charge of drawing us to Himself so let all our eyes be only on Him, not holiness or sainthood. May our Blessed Mother and all the Saints pray for us as we work to become healthy and whole through Christ our Lord.