An Eagle’s Flight: Ardently Desiring Holiness

Fr. Rafael, founder of the Home of the Mother, was amused to discover that most Americans consider the spirituality of the Home of the Mother to be “too intense.” How can we demand Catholic youth to live in chastity until marriage? How can we expect young people not to go partying on the weekends? How can we even dream that they are going to avoid occasions for sin? 

We are so “intense” because we are convinced that young people can be holy. Perhaps one of the reasons there are so few convinced Catholics among the youth is precisely because they are expected to dip their feet in worldliness and splash around in sin without falling headlong. Only those who by some miracle have a very weak concupiscence and do not fall very often, or those who do fall constantly but are willing to be hypocrites, will continue to “practice” the faith. Having been called to fly like eagles, they end up like hens with their feet tied (cf. St. Teresa, Autobiography, ch. 39). 

Why seek holiness? It is the meaning of our life. It is the reason why God created us. It is the motivation of the Incarnation, the Passion, and the Resurrection of Christ. Our goal is not just being saved. “Oh, I’ll make up for that in purgatory…” No! Our goal is much higher! If God became man so that man could become God (Athanasius), that is, united to God, how can we settle for the minimum and have a clear conscience? St. Teresa again and again encourages us to have an ardent desire for holiness: “I am astounded at how much can be done on this road [towards holiness] if one has the courage to attempt great things” (St. Teresa, Autobiography, ch. 13). Instead of seeing holiness as always having to give more things to God, we should see it as being willing to receive more of His love. Of course, if we want to receive His love with an open heart, we must leave behind our sins and attachments, but the strength to do so comes from Him! The joy He gives us as a reward in this life and eternally is greater than anything we can imagine.   

In previous articles on this subject, I have already underlined the importance of the Sacraments, virtue, spiritual direction, leaving behind attachments, and trusting in God as we seek holiness. Before concluding, I would like to reveal a little secret. I have often quoted St. Teresa on holiness, but the real topic she was writing about in context was prayer. In fact, she often switches back and forth between speaking about holiness and prayer as she wrote. She almost identified the two. Holiness, true love for God, union with God, is achieved through prayer. If a desire for holiness is beginning to blossom within you, you need to set aside time for silent prayer. There, in the depths of your soul, your God will transform you and ignite you with His infinite love. Then you will truly be holy!