HOLINESS, THE ONLY ONE THING NECESSARY.
Porro unum est necessarium, our Lord said. Only one thing is necessary: personal holiness. This is the secret of the joy we bring to the world, the sowing of peace we carry out in every sector of society. The desire for holiness, seeking the Kingdom of God and his justice, must be first among our intentions. All that, which is worrying you at present, is of relative importance. -What is of absolute importance is that you be happy, that you be saved. St. Josemaria
The struggle to achieve holiness entails true heroism.
Sanctity requires heroic virtue, a constant increase in charity. We can never love God as he deserves, since he is infinitely lovable and infinitely good. The only measure for loving him is to love without measure.
Another thing I have never forgotten, though it took place a long time ago, was once when I had gone into the Cathedral in Valencia to pray, and I passed by the tomb of the Venerable John Ridaura. I was told that whenever this priest, already very advanced in years, was asked how many years he had lived, he would reply with great conviction, in his Valencian dialect, “Poquets, Very few! Only those I have spent serving God.” For many of you here, the fingers of one hand are still sufficient to count the years since you made up your minds to follow our Lord closely, to serve him in the midst of the world, in your own environment and through your own profession or occupation. How long is not all that important. What does matter is that we engrave, that we burn upon our souls the conviction that Christ’s invitation to sanctity, which he addresses to all men without exception, puts each of us under an obligation to cultivate our interior life and to struggle daily to practise the Christian virtues; and not just in any way whatsoever, nor in a way which is above average or even excellent. No; we must strive to the point of heroism, in the strictest and most exacting sense of the word.
The goal that I am putting before you, or rather that God has marked out for us all, is no illusory or unattainable ideal. I could quote you many specific examples of ordinary men and women, just like you and me, who have met Jesus passing by quasi in occulto (as though hidden), at what appeared to be quite ordinary crossroads in their lives, and have decided to follow him, lovingly embracing their daily cross. In this age of ours, an age of generalized decay, of compromise and discouragement, and also of licence and anarchy, I think it is more important than ever to hold on to that simple yet profound conviction which I had when I began my priestly work and have held ever since, and which has given me a burning desire to tell all mankind that “these world crises are crises of saints”.
Interior life. We need it, if we are to answer the call that the Master has made to each and every one of us. We have to become saints, as they say in my part of the world, “down to the last whisker”, Christians who are truly and genuinely such, the kind that could be canonized. If not, we shall have failed as disciples of the one and only Master.
Each day we are asked to be heroic. And we find the path to this uncompromising holiness in the Gospel. Turning to the multitude following him, Jesus said: If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Christ asks us for everything, even our own life: et animam suam, he says. Our Father wrote: I can’t understand your idea of being a Christian. Do you think it’s fair for Christ to have given his life for us, suffering on the Cross, while you are content with just getting by? I don’t understand how that “getting by”, that comfort-seeking and laziness, can be the straight and narrow path the Gospel speaks of. St. Josemaria
Seeking holiness in the little things of each day.
St. Josemaria pointed out the way for us truly to become saints, as our Lord wants. It’s a very clear path: sanctity in ordinary things, sanctity in little things, sanctity in our professional work… Sanctity in order to sanctify. So I say to you, if you want to become a thorough-going Christian – and I know you are willing, even though you often find it difficult to conquer yourself or to keep climbing upwards with this poor body of ours – then you will have to be very attentive to the most minute details, for the holiness that our Lord demands of you is to be achieved by carrying out with love of God your work and your daily duties, and these will almost always consist of small realities.
Thinking of those of you who, despite years of experience, still go about dreaming – with vain and childish dreams, like those of Tartarin of Tarascon -imagining they are hunting lions in the corridors of their homes, where the most they will find are mice, if that; with, I insist, such people in mind, I can only remind you how great a thing it is to be accompanying God through the faithful fulfilment of your ordinary daily duties, coming through struggles which fill our Lord with joy, and which are known only to him and to each one of us.
Rest assured that you will usually find few opportunities for dazzling deeds, one reason being that they seldom occur. On the other hand, you will not lack opportunities, in the small and ordinary things around you, of showing your love for Christ.
Besides putting this spirit into practice ourselves, we have to teach those around us to finish things lovingly and add the final touches, practising heroism in little things. Our Father stressed: Inexperience, combined with ambition for great things, leads young people along the mistaken path of disdaining little things,the common, everyday things: a small detail, silence…, tidiness. We need to confront this grave error head on, by helping them consider the well-known maxim from Sirach: Qui spernit modica paulatim decidet; he who despises small things will fall little by little in big ones. And the verse from St Luke: He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
God is looking for our heroic response in little things in order to reward us with great holiness. All we need to do is recall the simple life of our Blessed Mother Mary, who passed unnoticed among the women of her land. Aside from exceptional occasions, which momentarily interrupted the Holy Family’s hidden life, nothing led those around Mary to suspect her singular role in the redemption. Our Lady teaches us to live exclusively for God and the spreading of his Kingdom. If you live in this way, our Founder assured us, you will make of your life a fruitful apostolate. And at the end of the way, you will receive Jesus’ praise: Quia super pauca fuisti fidelis, super multa te constituam: intra in gaudium domini tui; since you have been faithful over a little, in little things, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your Lord
Source: Book of Meditations (private collection)
Stay updated: subscribe by email for free TO OUR NEW WEBSITE www.catholicsstrivingforholiness.org (PUT YOUR EMAIL IN THE SUBSCRIBE WIDGET).
We are also in www.fb.com/Catholicsstrivingforholiness. Kindly help more people in their Christian life by liking our page and inviting your family, friends and relatives to do so as well. Thanks in advance and God bless you and your loved ones! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo