WHAT IS HOLINESS?
And what does God want of me?
Holiness is simply this: perfect conformity to the will of God in all things, at all times, and in all places.
It is to will what God wills.
It is to act as God would have you act.
It is the perfect correspondence between who and what you are, and who and what God wants you to be.
It is that simple.
“Be you therefore perfect …”
“Estote ergo vos perfecti, sicut et Pater vester Caelestis perfectus est”
“Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (St. Matthew 5.48)
“And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (St. Luke 9.23)
Attending a seminary will not make you holy — although if you are a straight, heterosexual male who possesses clear masculine attributes, it is likely that you will never be permitted to be ordained. That is reserved for the effeminate or homosexual male only. While this is not Catholic policy (and in fact is contradictory to, and in open defiance of very clear Church teaching), it is nevertheless the actual state of affairs.
One does not take “courses” or “sign up for workshops” in being holy — although there are many good books that will help lead you into holiness — and virtually all of them were published prior to 1960. After the decadent 1960s and the cataclysmic collapse of the Church following Vatican II within that same decade, quite nearly everything published under the auspices of the title “Catholic” — was not.
The self-inflicted wound that came to be called “Ecumenism” simply meant repudiating, renouncing, and even vilifying what is authentically, historically, and uniquely Catholic in a failed effort to assuage the animus of those hostile to us — or, as happened more often, simply to apostasize to religious indifferentism (all religions are equally good and all lead to the same God) … and eventually came to mean little more than a thinly veiled pantheism. 1 In effect, we became “them” who refused to become “us”.
Christ was torn from the Cross and the Cross became a token of shame.
To be a Catholic (that is to say, one faithful to the historical Magisterium and teaching of the Catholic Church … in other words, a Catholic) was to be “intolerant”, although this concept oddly did not apply to Judaism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam — or even Atheism and Secularism within that same period … and even now. Only Catholics, apparently, have the capacity for and susceptibility to “intolerance”. Anyone, of course, who holds fast to a teaching, doctrine, or dogma, does not accept as licit anything to the contrary and vigorously opposes what conflicts with that teaching: it is what differentiates ideas and concepts, rather than conflating them into a contradictory pudding that is meant to be agreeable to everyone however much it flies in the face of reason.
The impediment of logic
Even logic itself is tossed aside as an impediment to the countless irreconcilable contradictions inherent in Ecumenism. To wit, the Law of the Excluded Middle holds that two things cannot both be and not be at one and the same time. You are reading this column or you are not reading this column. You cannot be both reading and not reading this column. It is an inescapable contradiction. “The Holy Eucharist is really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ ” and “The Holy Eucharist is not really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ” are reciprocally contradictory and mutually exclusive statements (and beliefs). It either is, or it is not, really and truly the Body and Blood of Christ. It logically (and even existentially) cannot be both. Perhaps logic itself was the first casualty of Vatican II and Ecumenism.
Capitalists, as another example, have very distinct and differing concepts of economies from Communists. Each will argue that its own ideology is incompatible with and contradictory to the others’. Ideologically there can be no Capitalist Communists, or Communist Capitalists. They are not just different, but opposing ideologies.
Pro-Lifers and Pro-Abortionists also have distinct and differing concepts that logically conflict with one another. Ideologically there can be no Pro-life Pro-Abortionists, or Pro-Abortion Pro-Lifers. Once again, they are not just different, but opposing ideologies. Each is subtended by differing and opposite views on life, conception, death, and murder.
However … and oddly enough, only Pro-life advocates are intolerant, while Pro-Abortion advocates are not … hmmmm….
But to return to holiness: as we have seen, Christ calls us to perfection, and this entails denying oneself daily (very difficult, but doable), taking up the Cross (not a very pleasant thing to do) and following Him (the success of which alone is afforded by both Sanctifying Grace and Actual Grace — century-old terms no longer used because they are no longer taught or understood).
The hard work of holiness
This is the work of holiness, of personal sanctification — and there is no more urgent need in our lives.
- “oppressive and sinful ‘structures’ in the world”
- feminist “language neutering”
- “structural sin”
- “collaborative ministry”
- “oppressive patriarchal structures”
- “social justice” (this comes with holiness, not before it)
- “social and political ‘activism’”
This is the language of the world, of liberal academia, of militant feminism — not of Christ. It is the language of those who detest the Church but remain within her for “a living”; it is the childish and neologistic ravings of dissident theologians and radical feminists (also making a living off the Church). They are “catholic” in being “universally” contemptible of the Church and Her teachings. They have left being “Catholic” long ago.
None of this will lead you to holiness. None of it.
Only Christ can. And He does:
- If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (St. Luke 9.23)
- “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (St. Matthew 5.48)
An intimate affair
Holiness is an intimate affair — between you and God.
He does not ask you, anywhere in the Gospels, to change the world … but to change yourself — to take up your Cross and to follow Him … not the world. 2
He is our paradigm of Holiness … as is His Holy Mother Mary who gave us that beautiful, immemorial utterance, “Be it done to me according to thy word.” (St. Luke 1.37) In other words, as we said earlier, only conformity to the will of God — not the world — is the essence of holiness.
Imitate them. Not the world, just as Saint Paul did: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 3
Please God, let us now also say with Saint Paul, “I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me.” 4
Saint John, perhaps, sums it up best:
“Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever. (1 John 2.15-17)
Whom and what, then, will you follow if you seek to be holy? Christ or the world? It is absolutely clear that you cannot follow both. Each path diverges totally from the other, and the longer you remain on one path the farther you will be from the other.