the day of Pentecost God brought about thefulfillment of His great promise spoken through the Prophet Ezekiel: "I
will put my spiritwithin you..." (Ezekiel. 36:27). The Father
promised to place within each of us what is most personal to Him, His own
"Spirit of holiness". This reveals how much He truly loves each of us. He wants
us to be fully alive in the Spirit, filled with His own divine life which is
divine holiness. He wants us to be full of love; after all, the Holy Spirit is
also the Spirit of love. He is also the Spirit of truth as well. In the Gospel
of St. John Jesus also tells us that the Spirit "...will bein
you" (John 14:17). The Spirit of holiness makes holiness real and interior
by changing each of us from within. He is, after all, "the soul of our soul";
likewise, He is the soul of the Church. Truly by the Sacrament of Baptism each
of us is called interior into the hidden place of our heart with the living God
of love. This Sacrament of rebirth lays the foundation for the path of holiness
Not only does God want us to be with Him; He
also wants us to be like Him. It is His own holiness that each of us is to
share in. Sanctity is a participation in God's own life: "Be holy, for I,
the LORD, your God, am holy" (Leviticus. 19:2). God desires to make His own
holiness visible through each of us. At the Annunciation God spoke to Mary
through the angel Gabriel saying, "the child to be born will be called holy,
the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Jesus, the Holy One of God, desires to be reborn
in Spirit within every heart. The primary mission of the Spirit of holiness is
to produce and form Jesus within each of us. For this reason
holiness--sanctification--is actually a continuation of the Incarnation. For,
it is Jesus, the Holy One of God, who comes alive within each of us. To become
holy is to be formed in his "new humanity".
Do you remember the fruit of the fresh fire of
the Holy Spirit after you were baptized in the Holy Spirit? For many of us our
spiritual life seemed to deepen and have new vitality. The baptism in the Holy
Spirit helped to "jump start" and even "untie" the grace of our sacramental
Baptism. The word of God came alive in a new and personal way; we were drawn to
the celebration of Mass and the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation;
we were drawn to the lives of the saints, had a new zeal to share our faith
with others, and often became involved in serving the local parish in some
capacity: "True Christian life is a spiritual life that is, a life enlivened
and led by the Spirit toward holiness or the perfection of charity" (Celebrate
2000, by Pope John Paul II, p. 32).
might be defined as an inner conversion marked by a strong personal
relationship with Jesus. To become holy, then, each of us must undergo an
essential transformation from self to Jesus, from darkness to light; for, "God
is light, and in him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). Each of us
must become in other words, a "new person", a converted human being. This
process is called transforming union. Each of us only becomes holy through
contact with the Spirit of holiness. His Presence changes each of us into
someone sacred. For, this contact with the "Sanctifier" changes whatever is
touched. As we allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate every part of our being
holiness dawns over time. This process of purification by the Spirit is
actually an experience of God's love. Love is both the "soul" of holiness and
the way to holiness: "Follow the way of love" (Eph. 5:1, New American Bible,
1970 trans.). The Spirit of holiness will always be for each of us the
"transforming live" of God: His Presence is a living, transforming Presence. He
frees us from our own spirit, a worldly spirit, that is not at all like the
Spirit of Jesus.
is no holiness without contemplation; for, true contemplative prayer is always
a purifying gaze, an enlightening gaze and a unifying gaze toward the God of
love. We grow in holiness as we spend time with God in prayer, receive His
love, and give His love away to others. Each of us becomes holy gradually, over
time, because we gradually become Whom we focus upon in contemplative prayer.
The goal of contemplative inner union with God is for each of us to be filled
with divine life: This is holiness.
path to holiness travels through three stages: 1) purification; 2)
illumination; 3) union.
Purification: First, I need to be
liberated from sin and the spirit of the world: "We have not received the
spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God" (1 Cr. 2:12). Growth in
holiness is a growth process because it is a dying process. Each of us needs to
be purified and washed of anything that is incompatible with God's holiness.
Secondly, we enter the stage of interior enlightenment. Now, one's mind becomes
more enlightened to spiritual things, and one's soul desires growth in the
spiritual life and in all the virtues. Here, love is stronger as well: " The
Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name--he will teach
you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (John 14:26).
Union: Lastly, we are brought into the stage of union.
Here, one's mind is fixed chiefly on God's Presence, with an inner disposition
of being always conformed to God's will. Here, one enjoys great peace as well:
"Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will
come to him and make our dwelling with him" (John 14:23). Holiness will
always entail a close communion with God. This leads us to desire to do His
will only. Faithful obedience to His "holy" will is a hallmark of authentic
holiness: "Behold, I come to do your will, O God" (Heb. 10:7).