Reflection on Holiness #1001 (Growth in Holiness) Volume II Part 3of 3
To grow in holiness we have to have the desire, but we have to respond to the love that comes from God. Another name for this divine love is “grace” or the life of the risen Lord Jesus. He took the burden of our fallen nature upon His cross. From Calvary, flows His boundless mercy and love for each and every one of us. The truly wise and receptive know and live in the power of this divine life or “grace” that flows from the crucified savior on the cross. Jesus continues to give His life in the Holy Eucharist and in the Sacraments. But how is this life accessible? It is received by the light of faith and with genuine reverence. Love does not force itself on anyone. It waits patiently to be graciously received with joy and gratitude in the spirit of prayer and humility.
There are many forms of prayer, but essentially it is placing oneself in the presence of God and learning to connect with Him so that there is a circle of love that takes place between the creature and the creator. Without a prayerful disposition towards God, we tend to turn away from Him even though we may continue to be the recipient of His goodness. When we neglect this first love, we lack the awareness of the source of our gifts and blessings and so there is a lack of gratitude on the part of the recipient. God wants us to be grateful for His gifts, not because He needs it, but because it opens the door to a greater flow of love between the giver and the recipient. We break this circle of love if we appropriate all God’s gifts and talents to ourselves without reference to the giver.
If this circle of love is broken it cannot flow freely from the Creator to the creature. Without that awareness of God’s love in a reciprocal relationship, there is no growth in “holiness to the point of heroism.” The choice to grow in “holiness” lies in the recipient because divine love is “freely given” without coercion.