- What is Holiness?
- How can we become holy?
- Why should we become holy?
- Isn’t holiness boring and stuffy?
- Isn’t holiness only for priests and nuns?
- What does holiness look like?
These are questions that many Catholics and Christians of all varieties ask. If we are honest Christians we must ask this question at some point in our lives. So much depends on what holiness is, and how we appropriate it.
True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement. — St. Pope John Paul the Great
First of all, we must not think of holiness as adherence to a set of rules. To be sure, rules are involved, but they are only a means, and one of the most basic means available to us. Holiness is first and last, a relationship between a person and his Creator.
The two main goals of the New Chivalry are:
- To build oneself into the best possible version of oneself for the Glory of God
- To use that self to serve God in serving other people
These goals intentionally mirror the two great commandments. That is why the first seems inward focused, because it is the relationship with God that is the foundation of the service of others.
“You shall love the Lord your God with your whole all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:36.
This Great Commandment is the foundation of the New Chivalry, its source and summit. Intimacy with God is what we are building; it is why we are building it; and it is how we build that self. The best possible version of a person is the person that God created him or her to be, which is that person in right relationship with God in every aspect of their being; we build this intimacy because it pleases God and brings Him glory; and we build it by pursuing His will and by grateful exercise of the gifts He has given us. The exercise of God’s gifts is the intellectual, affective and physical development that we pursue in erudition and bad-assitude.
The result of this intimate relationship with God is right relationship with others.
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31.
The self built into the self that God created it to be will be a life-giving self, which overflows into service of everyone around it. This generosity is the result, not the source of intimacy with God, but it is also mutually reinforcing. It flows back to the God who inspired it, for Jesus said, “Whatever you do for one of these, the least of my brethren, you do for me.”
Worship of God leads to service of others, which is itself worship of God, deepening that primary intimacy, which then overflows again in service of others.
This is what we mean by holiness.