October 20, 2019

Our Highest Call

Saint Pope John Paul wrote that “the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine ‘training in holiness,’ adapted to people’s needs. This training must integrate the resources offered to everyone with both the traditional forms of individual and group assistance, as well as the more recent forms of support offered in associations and movements recognized by the Church. This training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer” (NMI nn.31-2).

At first, the desire for holiness may be an unrecognized yearning, a searching for truth or a striving to be good. We experience a nameless hunger for something more than the world has to offer: The recognition of holiness is revealed when we discover that our only destiny is God, the way to God is Christ, and Christ is our ultimate holiness.   

Edith Stein said: 

“God is truth. All who seek truth seek God whether this is clear to them or not.”” 

The call to holiness can astound us. Who me? You have to be kidding! Nevertheless, there is a longing for God, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Carl Jung said, “”Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”” This longing becomes more prominent when worldly pursuits disappoint, or when persons or things let us down. We wonder ‘is that all there is?’ If we truthfully answer this question, our longing for God takes us from the many detours promising instant happiness to the singular direction of eternal true joy. If we fail to find an attraction to God, it is not because God has failed to provide it. It is due to our short sightedness, a failure to look beyond immediate circumstances to God’s broader plan. It is easy to believe that security and happiness exist apart from God. But, in the long run, don’’t we find that many of the things we chase after are either elusive or unsatisfying? Many have found the importance of God and lived this greatest discovery. They challenge us to do the same.  

Holiness makes its first quiet dawn into a new day with the realization that there is something more to life than career, success, social status, physical pleasures, material comforts or other worldly gains. A new beginning, a different orientation to life, begins to shine. Something inexplicable nags at our subconscious. Something deeper, more satisfying than what the world offers. Our curiosity is piqued. We begin to seek satisfaction in nature and service, rather than in self-serving pursuits. One does not immediately recognize the truth that true happiness cannot be found apart from God, but the early light of dawn will begin to illuminate that fact. True authenticity is only found in God. God loves each individual more than anyone else possibly could. He desires what is best for us, and by far the best for us is to grow in holiness.

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Written by
Carolyn Humphreys

CAROLYN HUMPHREYS, O.C.D.S., O.T.R. is a discalced Carmelite secular and a registered occupational therapist. She is author of several books, including: From Ash to Fire: A Contemporary Journey through the Interior Castle of Teresa of Avila, Carmel Land of the Soul: Living Contemplatively in Today’s World, Mystics in the Making: Lay Women in Today's Church, Everyday Holiness: A Guide to Living Here and Getting to Eternity and Living Through Cancer,a Practical Guide to Cancer Related Concerns, Her articles have been published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Spiritual Life, The Priest, Review for Religious, Carmelite Digest, Spirituality, Religious Life Review, Mount Carmel and other Catholic journals. You can find her reflections online at: Contemplative Christianity Org.wordpress.com

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Written by Carolyn Humphreys
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