Part I: The Holiness of God


Part I:  The Holiness of God

The Cult




A Compilation from the Hearts


God the Father, Jesus Christ & Our Lady of Emmitsburg, Saints, Popes and Scholars,

as well as from

The Catechism of the Catholic Church



(Compiled by Michael T. Sullivan, MD)




1.  The Holiness of God

2.  The Holiness of Jesus

3.  The Holiness of Mary

4.    The “Cult” of Holiness—Our Personal Holiness



“Praise and beauty are before Him.

Holiness and majesty His Sanctuary!”

(Ps 95:6)


Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon, S. J. (1914-2000), authored countless meditations, conferences and books, among which the Modern Catholic Dictionary is most well known.  He also wrote many reflections on holiness,” to which we will be referring in this review, namely in relation to the Holiness of God, the holiness of Mary, and the central position of the Ten Commandments in our own personal holiness.  In his December, 1988 conference on the Holiness of God, Fr. Hardon writes: 


“The Second Vatican Council has given us the most extensive and the more authoritative, not merely discourse on holiness, but the absolute necessity of holiness for everyone in the modern world if Christianity is even going to survive….Ordinary families will not survive, only holy families will….Ordinary Catholics will not survive: only holy Bishops, priests, religious and Catholics (Christians)…will thrive and inspire future generations to follow Jesus Christ…..As little as thirty years ago, it didn’t quite occur to me that I would ever give a meditation on this subject entitled, ‘The Holiness of God.’  But….it is not just Christianity that is now on trial, it is God!”  (The Holiness of God, Hardon, Fr. John, S.J. Conference, Dec. 1988)


“Sing to the Lord, O ye His saints;

and give praise to the memory of His Holiness!”

(Ps 29:5)


In beginning this review of the virtue of Holiness, it seems appropriate to establish some definitions to which we will refer frequently.  In the Modern Catholic Dictionary, “Holiness” is defined first from the perspective of God Himself, and then how that it can be applied to God’s creatures—namely humanity.  It is primarily God-likeness.  However, “Sanctity” often implies the assimilation to Christ Who is God become Man; thus, sanctity  involves becoming more and more like Christ by imitating His human virtues.


Holiness:  The Holiness of God identified His separation from all evil.  And among creatures, they are holy by their relation to Him.  In creatures it is characterized essentially by the possession of Divine grace and morally by the practice of virtue. (Modern Catholic Dictionary,  Hardon, Fr. John, S.J.)


Sanctity:  The Sanctity of God is His total transcendence or total otherness.  It is in this sense that the Church prays in the Gloria of the Mass: 


“You alone are the Holy One,

 You alone are the Lord,

You alone are the Most High.”


All other sanctity is by participation, so that a creature has as much sanctity as it shares in the Divinity.  Essentially it consists in the possession of sanctifying grace, although the term is usually applied to persons who practice more than ordinary virtue, especially the love of God and their neighbor.  (Modern Catholic Dictionary, Hardon, Fr. John, S.J.)


However, throughout the Words of God the Father, the Lessons of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Messages of Our Lady of Emmitsburg, the word “sanctity” is only used once; therefore, the word “holiness” in these sources of private revelation to the world through Gianna Sullivan becomes a commingling of both of these definitions, holiness and sanctity.



Part I:  The Holiness of God

So I will display my greatness and My Holiness

and make Myself known in the eyes of many nations.

Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”

(Ezek 38:23)


Throughout the Book of Psalms there are multiple references to the Holiness of God:  “In His Holy Name we trust.” (Ps 33:21), “O God, your way is holy.”  (77:14)  “To the Holy One of Israel,” (89:19);  Holy is He.”  (95:5);  “Bless His Holy Name (103:1); “Glory in His Holy Name,” (105:3). And since the first century, in the Eucharistic Liturgy:  “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus—Holy, Holy, Holy.”


So Fr. Hardon asks, “What makes God holy?”


He then answers his own question:  “He alone must exist.  Surely that is being totally Other.  He alone is Creator….He alone is Almighty. No one except He can do whatever in His infinite wisdom He wants to do.  He is all-loving, all-wise; He is all-good; He is absolutely unchangeable; He is pure Spirit, that Mind and Will that existed from all eternity; and except for His existence, there would be no mind and no will, there would be no knowledge and no love in the whole universe.”  (The Holiness of God, Fr. John Hardon, SJ, Dec. 1988)


In His Words to the world, Our Heavenly Father Himself describes many of His Own attributes:  His Mercy, His loyalty, His faithfulness, His love of Truth, His goodness and His Holiness, as He invites each of His children to seek and reach for Him.  He wants no one left behind, but all to return home:


“…I am a loving God, a holy God.  I am your God.  There is only One.  There shall never be another.  The Mercy I give to you is the Mercy from the Womb, the Womb where my Son first became Flesh.  I am a God of kindness, and I am a God Who is loyal and faithful to those who love the Truth…..”  (GTF, Dec. 8, 2005)


“…Be genuine!  Look to Me!  Open your hearts and I will fill you through My Son—through His goodness and His ways which are both Divine and human—so that you may know in your human ways how to seek and reach for the holiness and goodness of My Divinity….”  (GTF, April 8, 2007)


Our Lady of Emmitsburg expresses her happiness with her children in welcoming all of us on this journey to better understand God’s Holiness and how it leads to our own personal holiness, and she prays for the guidance and protection of each of us by our angels:


“…I am so happy to be here at this precious moment….I bless all of you here and those in your hearts in the Name of the Triune God, Who is Perfection, Holiness, Charity, Compassion and Forgiveness….”  (Private OLOE, Jan 5, 2005)


“…I pray that angels  protect you and guide you in the Holiness of God….”  (Public OLOE, Oct. 13, 2003)


This lifelong journey has never been promised to be easy nor always pleasant, but Our Lady assures us that as we proceed, as our prayer life develops and as we are purged, we will continue to be drawn into that Holiness of God which is eternal life and joy with Him:


“…If you work for the glory of God, you will find that indifference or unpleasant behavior and words and gestures from others will not affect you.  Your virtues will become more pronounced, and you will radiate with God’s Holiness.  Your works and endeavors for others will be fruitful, and you will desire more and more to perform charitable acts of love….”  (Public OLOE, Aug. 7, 1997)


“All things can be mitigated with prayer; however, prayer cannot be one-sided.  It must be directed to Divine Providence, to whatever God wills.  Enjoy what you have, for the time is limited.  The choice for life in this world or that in eternity is at hand.  Yes, you have till your last breath, but all are welcomed into Heaven immediately.  Few want to be purged in this life so that they can enjoy Heaven immediately.  The Holiness and Purity and Joy of God are endless….”  (Private OLOE, Nov. 2, 2008)


Our Lord in His Lessons reminds us, however, that this opportunity is offered not through our own merit, but rather through God’s Mercy, and thus demands our gratitude and our humility:


“…Give thanks to My Father Who deals so favorably with you, Who is merciful, Who gives you His power, Who raises you up, Who gives you graces of bliss, and Who ardently incites you lest you fall (by your own neglect) into worldly desires and carnal affection.  For it is not through your own merit that you attain the bliss of His blessings.  It is through Our Divine visitations and heavenly graces that you may grow in Our Holiness and in the virtue of humility….”  (JOM, Vol III,  #22, Mar. 2, 1991) 



No Holiness without Humility


15 For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity:

whose name is Holy;

I dwell in the high and holy place,

with Him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit,

to revive the spirit of the humble,

and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

(Is 57:15)


For the purpose of this discussion, let us consider “Humility” as:

The moral virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself.  It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors. Religious humility recognizes one's total dependence on God; moral humility recognizes one's creaturely equality with others. (Modern Catholic Dictionary)


It seems that in any discussion of holiness, one does not venture very far before recognizing the inseparable connection between holiness and humility.  In His Lessons Our Lord reminds us that it is God who perfects us through those moments and events in our lives in which we must put aside our pride and accept our errors:


“…Never give up hope.  When you fail, try again.  My disciples will fall because I allow them, but only for them to grow stronger in My Holiness and in humility.  If you try, you have not failed, but have won favor in the sight of my Father.  Remember, you are not perfect; but it is I Who perfects you in Me.  A true disciple puts aside his/her self-pride and accepts errors with humility….”  (JOM, Vol III, #4, May 21, 1990)


“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.

So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,

so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 

(2Cor 12:9)


Those very weaknesses, according to Our Lady of Emmitsburg, will become the avenues of grace through which God’s virtues will flow, especially the humility and patience required to grow in holiness.  She points to the Child—the Child Jesus, Who in His littleness and holiness will return to lead the whole world.  She shows her pleasure as She shares with her children the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart which is the fulfillment of and union with the Divine Will:


“Little ones, do not be hard on yourselves when you find you have made mistakes or have failed in responding to God’s Love….Only God is perfect, and only when you dwell with the angels in heaven will you be free from sin.  God loves you in your weakness, and invites you to trust in Him so that you can grow in holiness and humility.  If you seek to love as God loves and to do His Will, God can turn your human weakness into a strong pillar to house great graces and virtues. But if you have repugnance for your weakness, avoiding God’s Mercy, you will weaken, and vices of self-pride and lack of patience will prevent God’s pillar of graces to rest with you….”  (Public OLOE, May 11, 1995)


“…Surrender in peace to Jesus’ desires and accept with patience all He has planned for you.  He will free you.  This does not mean you will be exempt from trials and tribulations of all sorts, for these prepare you for eternal glory and allow you to grow in perfection of His Holiness through meekness and humility….”  (Public OLOE, Nov. 12, 1998)


“But if we hope for what we do not see,

we wait for it with patience.”

(Rom 8:25)


 “…Ultimately, as you grow in humility, you grow in holiness.  The more humble you are, the better you will handle temptations and tribulations in a way so pure that it will give God great glory and honor.  The strength of the free will to follow the Way of God in the midst of both worldly and spiritual temptations is an awesome triumph, especially when you overcome them through vigilance, prayer and the desire to remain faithful and committed….”  (Private OLOE, Dec. 7, 2005)


“…You are empowered because you are holy, but holiness comes only through humility; and when you are humble, you are given powerful insights into what God desires of you as leaders to bring forth to those in most dire need….Open your minds and your hearts, not to the ways of the world, but to the Truth of the Holy Spirit Who will guide you through to my Son.  Look to the Child (Jesus). He will lead you.  Even though most do not want a child to lead them, look to the Child.  He will get you to and through any area, invisibly and unnoticed by the enemy, to be victorious in your works.  There you shall be awarded and live within the Triumph of my most Immaculate Heart….”  (Private OLOE, April 20, 2005)


“…And she gave birth to a son, a male Child,

who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron….”

(Rev 12:5)


“…I am pleased because you are dedicated and committed to the Truth and to fulfilling the Divine Will of God the Father.  His Will shall always unfold as you continue to surrender….It is important for all people to know that holiness does not start or finish with knowledge, but it is completed only at the moment of true humility, which rests in the fulfillment of and union with the Divine Will….”   (Private OLOE, Aug. 13, 2005)


“…Give thanks to your Father above for all He has given to you….Always begin your prayers with gratitude….The more you thank God, the more He will illuminate your minds and the more you will be able to worship Him in reverence with affection and without fear….His Love is incarnate, and His Holiness flows to all living things through Him.  He is Love….”  (Public OLOE, Sept. 16, 1999) 


“.May you lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him,

as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.  

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power;

and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience,

while joyfully giving thanks to the Father,

who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

(Col 1:10-12)


God’s Gift of Holiness

“Take this holy sword, a gift from God,

with which you will strike down your adversaries.”

(2Mac 15:16)


A recurring theme throughout this study of Holiness” is that it is most always to be considered as a gift. We are nothing without God.  We deserve nothing on our own.  We truly merit nothing without cooperating with God’s grace.  Everything, including life itself, is a gift.  And so too, just as Our Father in heaven showers us with life, freedom and all of His gifts, He expects us to show that same compassion to others:


          Our Lord in His Lessons:

“…How my people, especially My poor and downtrodden and homeless, are malnourished in love and compassion….How my people need to be understanding and compassionate.   They need to put aside their desires for personal gain and seek to please My Father in freedom.  I tell My people over and over again to desire to grow in My Holiness by desiring to unite in the Oneness of the Holy Trinity.  To do this you must desire self-denial and the total absorption of My Love and accept to do the Will of God.  Only My Father can take you to this point, for this is a gift from Him….Ultimate freedom results from total acceptance of God’s Will!...The Will of My Father can be discerned through love, compassion and openness to others’ needs.  Freedom is a result of unity in the Holy Trinity and is a state of holiness.  If you desire to be free, begin to be compassionate!”  (JOM, Vol III, #19, Dec. 17, 1990)



Our Lady of Emmitsburg:

“…Holiness is not something you ask for; holiness is a gift from God….”   (Private OLOE, April 24, 2004).


“…God gives you Life to its fullest.  He loves you; and He blesses you, not only with good health and prosperity in spiritual matters; but He gives you the grace to continue to live lives of holiness and virtue, to be children of Light, to be children of Peace, to be children of Love, and to do works with humility, all for the greater glory of God….”  (Private OLOE, Nov. 22, 2004)


“…Reflect how holiness is the basis of dignity.  Holiness does not depend on extraordinary gifts with which you are graced.  It is a direct response to your fidelity in your duties to God.  Your deeds must be holy if they are to be esteemed by God.  It is your response to your gifts and what you do with them for God that merits His rewards.  It is not the gift itself, but your response to your gift.  Your constant fidelity in serving in faithfulness to God’s Will distinguishes you under His grace.  It is your response to the grace from God, little children, and cooperation, which make you holy…”  (Public OLOE, Sept 29, 1994)


“…God created you to be special and to be holy, just as He has created all of His children.  Use this holiness as a special gift, and draw all people here to the Center of my Immaculate Heart….The Triumph of my most Immaculate Heart certainly shall reign.  The unveiling of my Son’s Divine Mercy has commenced.  Whether people want me here or not, this is the Center of my Immaculate Heart and this is where my Son is.  Humanity cannot change the Truth, because the Truth is in the Word.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word is here….”  (Private OLOE Aug. 23, 2003)


Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away!

The Lord called me before I was born,

while I was in my mother’s womb He named me.”

(Is 49:1)


“…There in my Womb, where my Son was conceived, there you also are born into a new life, one of purity and honesty, holiness and grace.  God graces every human being, not through their own efforts and not through what they merit, but as a gift; and in that gift, there you are.  If all should abandon you, my Son will never do that.  You will never be abandoned, for you have been called by name!”  (Private OLOE, Oct. 15, 2005)


“…You must give all your hearts to Jesus.  It is the only Way.  You cannot give Him only a portion of your hearts….When you give all of your being to Jesus, you allow Him to fill you with His goodness, light, freedom and peace.  I am a Mother who desires to see her children happy, secure and growing in holiness.  You cannot acquire these things alone.  Only Jesus can grace you with true happiness, true security and true holiness.  Any way other than Jesus’ Way will only achieve a short-lived result….”  (Public OLOE, May 6, 1999)


“…God looks down upon you from Heaven above.  He takes your prayers, your petitions and your intentions.  He tells you in your hearts how much He loves you and how much he suffered for you.  He was flogged because of His Love for you. So too are you flogged by temptations, personal tribulations, desolation and misfortunes; but God loves you.”  (Public OLOE, April 9, 2004)


St. Louis de Montfort writes, “If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart, it still would not equal the love of the heart of Mary for her children.”  Our Lady of Emmitsburg so clearly demonstrates this motherly love for all her own:


“I His Mother, desire you to know that He your God is not alone with you, but I your Mother join Him and am also with you.  God the Father releases the graces and gifts of holiness upon you, for all those who love, respect, adore and humbly submit and surrender their lives to Divine Providence….I your Mother comfort you, especially during this time when so many are being attacked, are doubtful, are searching, are wondering where to go and what to do, and even seem lost.  I your Mother am with you, chasing after you, striving to see you eye to eye just as I did with my Son during His Passion…I invite all my children to bow to our Eternal Creator, each seeking to show no superiority over others in any aspect of life; because it is God Who rules, decides, appoints invites and heals….How grateful am I to be among you, with you, beside you and in you, along with my Son, as your Mother!”   (Public OLOE, April 9, 2004, Good Friday)


“…Then He said to the disciple,

“Here is your Mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home….”

(Jn 19:27)


End of Part 1

The Holiness of God

(to be continued)


“They shall speak of the magnificence of the glory of Thy Holiness!”

(Ps 144:5)