By Carolyn Shields
I've been so fascinated with this idea of holy for years now. What is holy. Who is holy. My holy. Because of this, can you guess what my favorite part of mass is? In the Sanctus, our voices come together and we unite with the choir of saints in heaven. Our words of praise are in tune with the angels'. And then? We hit our knees.
We become grounded back to this objective reality, reminded of what's coming before us, and bracing ourselves to receive our Holy and to enter into this divine union.
But this world seems to have lost a sense of reverence, of awe and humility of understanding there is something far, far greater that happens on that altar than the ritual seems to let on. It's a vague memory to many now, and warped to think how by becoming Man, Holy gave Himself an expiration date simply by folding Himself into our history and rooting Himself in our time. He became old news in an age where we are constantly looking forward, pushing onward, and tradition becomes something to burn.
Holy, holy, holy. Once isn't enough.
So here's the thing then...if Holy seems confined to the past, restricted to an altar or a tabernacle, or so abstract that even the stars can't comprehend it, creation can't bare it, humanity struggles to find it, then where is it? We can't live on bended knee before an altar forever.
But when we dip our fingertips into the holy water, and cross ourselves to go back out to build His kingdom on earth, we have our answer.
You harbor Holy. You host the Host. 1 Corinthians 3:17 says, "God's temple is holy; and you are that temple."
You know how you've got the stuff of sainthood in you? And how you're being challenged to live a holy life, whatever that looks like, whether or not that's simply you challenging yourself because no one else is? And you know how we've been told that we're created in the image and likeness of God, meant for more? How we should go to confession? You know all that stuff we've been told?
It's all right there. You see, we have all of these truths before us, some great and beautiful and some hellish, some maybe we're even tired of hearing, but I'm beginning to understand how they're all intertwined, and that's by holiness within this mystical body of Christ. We know we were not meant for this world (we get that), and that sin ruptures what so delicately unites us to Christ (we feel that), but by striving for purity, that's exactly how we are going to find Him in this world. And yes, sometimes He finds us alone, sitting on our windowsill on the eighth floor of our first studio watching the sunset, and He reveals Himself in the hazy golden and violet light. Sometimes it's not always through the other, but if our Holy Ghost is total Communion (think Trinity), and if we are made in His image and likeness, aren't we too created for relationships?
Didn't He send His very son to communicate that to us? Holy took on flesh, right? God is holy by Essence.
So that's my prayer, but not only for you sweet readers, for my family, for our Church, but for him too. Let's hit our knees again and again, and let's take this on, together. Again, it's been blowing my mind for years now how Holy not only wants an intimate relationship with us, but that He dwells in us; that we are called to be holy, and as we grapple with this beautiful truth, let's take our spouse into this contemplation as we end in prayer:
I ask that you make him sacred. Let him embody your love and have hands dirty from giving, a restored soul and a vibrant heart. Let him have everything short of your scars. Let him approach life reverently, with discernment at the center of his actions, praise on his lips, and a mind always on you. Keep him gracious, keep him solemn and devout and pious. Let him never run but stand his ground. Let him take the hit and protect those around him. Let him practice sacrifice and self denial and humility every single day. Let him defend Your name by offering his own, and one day, may he give me his. Holy Spirit, make him sacred. Make him holy. Make him sanctified. Amen.