Radical Holiness Conquers Evil

I’ve been doing a pretty poor job of keeping up on making posts lately. Sorry. We’ve been really busy here at NAC and writing blog entires has been unfortunately demoted to next to last on my list of things-to-do… right above exercising. Nevertheless, I will continue to try and post on a (quasi)daily basis, and attempt to make them interesting and relevant at that.

Recently, I’ve been quite struck by the impact that we can make on people’s lives in very small and often overlooked ways. That being said, I am also greatly aware that making statements like the one I just made has become absolutely cliché—and I don’t intend to flatter you with humble platitudes…

Here’s the deal: we are all called to be radically holy. Radically holy! I mean being holy, period, is pretty much off most people’s radar screen—how in the world are we supposed to be radically holy? Certainly, we hear the word tossed around at Mass on Sundays, we sing about it in songs, and some actually even ask God to make them such, but what do we intend?

God understands our weakness—our continual self-absorption and ego-driven, consumeristic mindset; after all, he is God. But, saying that he understands us does not mean that he desires us to continue being that way. Maybe I can word that even more strongly and say that he actively and passionately desires us to be otherwise, even to the point of sending his Son to die for those sins we indulge in each day. This distinction is precisely the difference between pop-psychology and real religion: popular ‘spirituality’ says, “God understands and won’t judge us harshly”; true faith says, “God understands and expects us to change, so that when just judgment is offered, we might be granted the good he also desires to give us [i.e. eternal life].”

In the first case, God judges lightly, but at the same time is really devoid of offering any real good to us since we aren’t willing to concede that he actually has the power to do anything. In other words, most popular modern notions of God’s mercy fail to see him as God, and instead project an idea of human ‘mercy’ (full of its inadequacy and finitude) onto the divine, simply allowing him to overlook evil. God can overlook evil—in fact he can destroy its power—but to do so man must be willing to cooperate, since we are the creators of evil, and thereby continually subject to it until we allow God to take it from us.

I say again, we are all called to be radically holy, and to offer others the small and often overlooked acts of charity that provide such a huge impact on their lives. However, I mean it in light of this greater scope of the reality of God’s mercy. Our charity provides more than simply a cozy feeling to someone in need; it is an assent of our will to the will of God in overcoming the evil that permeates this world, and thereby launches us—with divine assistance—toward the ultimate and achievable end of true sanctity and eternal life.