The art of holiness

Our Lord Jesus Christ with the the children.

St Paul says that God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy in his presence. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Our Lord’s calling us his friends demands that we should love him and strive to be more like him.
  • The effort to be more Christlike is the struggle for holiness
  • We were made in the image and likeness of God but our sins tarnish that image
  • The work of forming ourselves is like that of the artist – it is the art of holiness
  • St John Paul II and St Gregory of Nyssa speak of the struggle for holiness as similar to the work of the artist
  • St John Chrysostom, like the Second Vatican Council centuries later, says that all are called holiness

Seeing Christ in others

Charity, as St Paul writes, is the greatest of the virtues (cf. 1 Cor 13: 13) but it is also one of the hardest to live. A big help in being more kind and generous is to see Christ in everyone around us. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Christ taught us that whatever we do to the least of our brethren we do to him (cf. Mt 25:40).
  • Our Lord showed us by his example how to love others and he gave us the New Commandment to love others as he has loved us (John 13:34).
  • We love others because God first loved us (cf. 1 John 4:19).
  • St Mother Teresa of Calcutta was truly exemplary in seeing Christ in the poorest of the poor.
  • Those closest to us have the first claim on our love.

The jigsaw puzzle of life

Jigsaw puzzle

God has a plan for all of us.

Life can be like a jigsaw puzzle. With each of our actions we put another piece in place and at the end of our life we will see the finished picture, the beautiful work of art God intended for us or the discordant one we have made by our failings. In this meditation we consider:

  • Living our life well is creating a true work of art, practising the art of holiness.
  • God has a plan for each moment of our life and doing what he wants is putting one more piece of the puzzle in its proper place.
  • While each action can seem unimportant in itself, it is very important in the overall picture of our life.
  • If we make a wrong choice, the finished picture will lack the harmony and beauty God wants for us.
  • The dark pieces – sickness, hardship, setbacks – are part of the beauty of God’s design for us.
  • Only at the end of our life will we see the finished picture we have made by our daily actions.

Pearl of great price – our faith

A pearl was a sought after jewel in the time of Christ, hence considered of great value.

Our Lord uses many parables to explain the kingdom of God, among them that of the merchant who finds a pearl of great price and goes and sells all he owns to buy it. For us that pearl is our faith in God, the light that gives meaning to our existence, that shows us the way to happiness both here and hereafter. In this meditation we consider:

  • the importance of faith
  • the different ways we come to faith
  • how to protect our faith from being weakened or lost
  • how to strengthen our faith

Sorrow for our sins

When on Good Friday Jesus looked at Peter after his three denials, Peter went out and wept bitterly. We too have offended Christ by our sins and we can learn from Peter to be sorry for them. In this meditation we consider:

  • The value of contemplating Jesus’ sorrowful face in order to be moved to true sorrow for our sins
  • The spirit of penance: contrition with the resolution to try not to sin again
  • The sacrament of penance: the importance of receiving this sacrament of mercy regularly and of helping others to do so
  • The acts of penance: why we need them and what we can do to make up for our sins

Children of a loving Father

One of the most beautiful truths of our faith is that God is our loving Father. In this meditation we consider seven consequences of this reality:

  • God has a purpose for each one of us
  • God loves us and we should love him in return
  • We should talk with our Father in prayer
  • God respects our freedom and when we sin we should be sorry and ask his forgiveness through the sacrament of Penance
  • As a good Father, God disciplines us and allows us to suffer
  • God watches over us in his loving Providence so we should trust him and not be anxious
  • God wants us to go home to the Father’s house when we die and we should long to be with him there

Knowing how to love

Jesus blessing the children.

 

St Josemaria Escriva called himself a man who knew how to love. Indeed, his great love for God overflowed into love for his fellow man. We should all be people who know how to love. In this meditation we pray about how:

 

  • We are all called to love God because he loved us first
  • Only if we truly love God will we be able to love our fellow man
  • We can grow in love for God in the same way that St Josemaria did: by spending time with him in prayer in its various forms, in Mass and Holy Communion, reading of Scripture, ┬áspiritual reading, etc.
  • We love God with the same heart with which we love others
  • Our love for others should include our effort to help them draw closer to God