Lives of holiness in this day and age

| Kate Soucheray | January 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

Editor’s note: In this issue we begin “Simple Holiness,” a new monthly column focusing on Catholic marriage and family. It is written by Kate Soucheray, a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale and a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Kate Soucheray

Kate Soucheray

Holiness. What exactly is this concept in our world today? To be holy is to be saintly and devout. It is to be pious, pure and faithful. When we think of being holy in our current culture, it might seem nearly impossible.

We also may think it must have been easier for the Holy Family to be holy in the era in which they lived. After all, there was no internet, no social media, no instant connections demanding their attention.

While the Holy Family might not have had these distractions, they certainly had issues of their day to deal with. Their land was occupied by the Romans, and they were made to pay taxes to a foreign power; they were ruled by a government that saw the Jews as strange with their one God, food laws and dedication to family; and they were living on the outskirts of its thriving, industrious empire. It was into this world that Jesus was born.

On Dec. 30, we celebrated the feast of the Holy Family, commemorating the birth of Jesus and the family that was created through his mother, Mary, and his earthly father, Joseph. The example provided by the Holy Family is beautiful. However, the idea of holiness in our families — as well as our marriages — is often mystifying. As a dear friend once said, we need a new definition for holiness in our world today, because it often seems we are so unsure of what holiness is and how to attain it. If we are to imitate the example of holiness that Jesus, Mary and Joseph set for us, we must have a clear understanding of what is required of us.

First of all, holiness is simple. It is the presence of God within each one of us, calling us to love and serve each other. It is also seeing the needs of others and offering to help in any way we can.

In this, holiness occurs in the moment. It is not reserved for some later, perfect time, like in a movie. It happens in the immediacy of what is right in front of us.

It is also offering forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, even if we don’t necessarily want to. Holiness calls us to be the presence of Christ to others when we encounter someone in need, which may require us to put down our anger or hurt and reach beyond ourselves to truly be present to others.

Action challengeWhat is one small action your family can do this month to bring a sense of holiness into your home, your marriage and your family? Take time during a family meal to talk about this question and choose a small gesture of love you will extend to one another this month to become a more holy family.

Holiness takes the form of all the simple ways we are Christ to one another each day, as we unselfishly give of our time and energy, extending our patient, gentle love and care to others. It may take the form of helping one of our children who struggles in school, as we work to remain patient and calm. It may take the form of offering forgiveness to our spouse after he or she said something harsh or unkind that hurt our feelings. It may also take the form of reaching out to a neighbor or friend when this person needs our help, even though something may have happened to cause us to question the friendship. For children, holiness may come in the form of sharing and not fighting.

In our culture today, we are often encouraged to shield ourselves from the needs of others, seeking only the good we feel or the “likes” we receive. And yet, our faith encourages us to see others’ needs and do all we can to help alleviate their pain.

As we strive this month to become examples of holiness, let us remember the words of St. Teresa of Kolkata, who said, “We can do no great things. We can do small things with great love,” and to find small ways to extend loving care and kindness to others.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

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Category: Simple Holiness