SOULCORE LIVING: HOLINESS
- Posted by Deanne Miller
- On October 17, 2023
What does it mean to be holy, exactly, and how do we grow in holiness
through our daily circumstances?
We couldn’t have articulated it better ourselves, so we’re sharing this powerful
reflection from a study we did with the Good Catholic titled “Thy will be done”.…
In essence, to be holy means to be virtuous. We become virtuous by practicing the
virtues: both the human virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude) and
the divine virtues (faith, hope, and charity). The virtues are good habits that ennoble
all the powers of our soul-our intellect, will, appetites, and passions-to function
according to how God created them.
The proper order is for the lower faculties of our soul (our appetites and passions) to
obey the higher (our reason and will) in submission to the will of God. However, when
we sin, the opposite happens: our appetites and passions suppress the use of our
reason, and our will turns away from God. This results in the powers of our soul
becoming weaker and more disordered.
Practicing the virtues is our way out of this weakness and disorder. We become
more holy each time we choose to do the good and virtuous action in a
particular instance when acting badly-or sinning-would be easier. In fact, the
classical definition of virtue is “manly strength” of character. Just as muscles
strengthen by enduring resistance, virtues strengthen by enduring trials and
conflicts. As God told St. Catherine of Siena, “…a man proves his patience on his
neighbor, when he receives injuries from him.”
Once we understand that the virtues can only grow in us through conflict and
overcoming the temptation to sin, we can readily see that God intentionally brings
specific situations into our lives that are perfectly suited to help us grow in the virtues
we most need to sanctify our soul.
“Holiness does not consist in never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the
capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again and, especially,
for reconciliation and forgiveness. (…)Consequently, it is not the fact that we have
never erred but our capacity for reconciliation and forgiveness which makes us
saints. And we can all learn this way of holiness.” (Pope Benedict XVI Jan 31, 2007).