Life and Light – The Meaning of Holiness

I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.

Walking in the presence of the Lord, attempting to achieve wholeness is part of the journey of Christian life.  Wholeness is never totally achieved in this life, but integrity or holiness is a quality the gospel asks us to strive for.  As a Christian community we have a vision of life’s meaning, and our decisions flow out of the priorities and values of this meaning.  Living according to gospel values brings wholeness.  It enables us to make difficult choices with inner freedom and peace.  The choices may be no less difficult, but our options become clearer.

Faith calls us to wholeness – a term which is synonymous with holiness.  Faith which is defined as an acceptance of a loving relationship with God, helps us to bring wholeness into our lives so that our faith is expressed in what we do and say.  In Genesis, Chapter 22, Abraham is called by God and he answers “Ready”.  He is then put to a radical test of faith by being asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac.  His faith enabled him to say “yes”.  We are put to different tests.  We live in a world where gospel values are often not accepted as realistic.

The world tells us that as long as something feels good – do it!

Take care of yourself and let others take care of themselves.

But Jesus tells us that we should love our enemies and be willing to help them if they are in need of our help.  He tells us to share ourselves with others – that we are our brother’s keeper.

A strong faith will lead us to say “yes” to the Lord, as Abraham did, when we are put to the test.

We have nothing to fear because, as St. Paul tells us, if God is for us, who can be against us?  God is ultimately in charge of all creation – He wins in the end!  So it is the wise person and not the fool who chooses discipleship and recognizes that in accepting discipleship he is also accepting an invitation to transformation.  The transfiguration of Jesus is a sign of transformation we all undergo as we live out our faith as disciples of Jesus.  The transfiguration is a sign of hope.  It tells us that we can hope that the death experiences of daily life will be followed by resurrection experiences.  We die to self whenever we say “no” and choose the cross of self-denial in place of the quick sands of self-indulgence.  The cross of Jesus can transfigure us.  It has the power to effect this change in our lives.  Just as the lives of Peter, James, and John became centered on Jesus and given to the spread of God’s kingdom, so too can ours.  As ourwill and ourplans give way to an acceptance of God’s will and plan for our lives, our patterns of thinking, desiring, and acting will be transformed through the saving power of Jesus’ cross.

Lent is the special time for reflecting on this life-process of Christians – this choosing of Jesus as Lord and Savior – a choosing which carries with it a willingness to shoulder our own crosses – to die and rise daily as we walk with him toward our own Easter, resurrection life, and the holiness that is our destiny in eternal life.

Bernard J. Fleury, B.A., M.A., Ed.D., is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Educational Administration.  His  lifelong interest in history and a firm belief in the synthesis of faith and reason (theology and science) as two aspects of a single reality – The Light: God, is clearly evident in his book Called into Life by the Light,  Print, E-Book, Audio Book, on website: http://www.intolifebylight.com.

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