To Be Holy: Some Thoughts on Holiness

To Be Holy

Monks, mystics, hermits and the like
may seem to say that holiness means
setting oneself apart from the world,
it’s temptations, trials and troubles. 
In the desert wastelands, river valleys,
lakesides, forests and mountain tops
men and women have experienced God
and come to know their selves and calls.
But not so for the rest of us.  
We are called to be in, not of, the world.
To be sure we are holy when we choose God
and not our selves and sinful desires.
Being relatively sin-free is a worthy aim
and no doubt a noteworthy accomplishment.  
But this is only a beginning and not the end
of what is actual and authentic holiness.
Nor is holiness something we put on and take off
like brocaded vestments or religious jewelry.
Neither is it restricted to churches and cathedrals.      
Jesus Christ calls us salt and light.
We are to make a difference in the lives
of family, friends, and strangers 
by our words, with our actions, 
in our example, through our efforts.
Words in a Jewish Prayerbook remind us
how and when we find holiness:
There is holiness when we ……….
strive to be true to the best we know; 
are kind to someone who cannot possibly repay us;
promote family harmony; 
forget what divides us and remember what unites us;
we love — truly, honestly, and unselfishly; 
we remember the lonely and bring light where it is dark;
share — our bread, our ideas, our enthusiasms; 
gather to pray to God who gave us the power to pray:  
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts;
all of life can be filled with God’s glory

— Father Paul Wharton (and Likrat Shabbat)

[Link to book]

[ART by hrpotter358 on]




About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This entry was posted in Songs and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to To Be Holy: Some Thoughts on Holiness

  1. Sharon says:

    Great! Happy to have you back with us!!!

  2. Gail Bays says:

    Very very nice Fr. Paul.

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