Thursday, May 25, 2017

holiness vs love

Palladius of Galatia talks to us today about thinking before we speak in A Year with the Church Fathers.

He tells us about a monk who would sometimes take three months to answer a question because he wanted to be sure to say the right thing. He told his friends on his death bed that he went to God with a clear conscience because he knew he had never said anything out of place.

We're still talking about this monk today, so there's something to be said for what he practiced. However... I think it also brings up an important distinction. Sometimes I think it's easy for those who really want to follow Jesus and take their faith seriously to get so caught up in their own holiness that they start straining gnats and getting hung up on tiny details.

This is a great video by my favorite preacher, Bishop Robert Barron. In it, he talks about the relationship between holiness and love. Holiness, as most of you probably know, means being "different", "set apart" from the world and its fallenness. But how exactly are we to be different? By not answering questions for three months? (maybe, but I don't think all of us are called to that).

Love is the holiness that we're called to. Because when we love, the way God calls us to love, it sets us apart. Loving other people selflessly, giving of ourselves to those who don't deserve it and won't repay us... that's different from the fallen world. That's "set apart". That's holy.

So the next time you ask yourself what you should do to be holy, the answer is found in "What does love demand?" Do that, and you'll find holiness. And you might even like it.

God, thanks for teaching us how to be holy like You... by being loving, since You are love.