Part 4A: Our Personal Holiness

 

Part 4A:  Our Personal Holiness

The Decalogue and the Beatitudes

The Cult

of

Holiness

 

A Compilation from the Hearts

of

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

as well as from

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

about

“Holiness”

(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

A.       The Decalogue & the Beatitudes

B.       The Cult

 

 

Part 4A—The Decalogue & the Beatitudes

Our Personal Holiness

 

If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

(Jn 14:15)

 

The Ten Commandments or Decalogue

(As compiled by St. Augustine of Hippo)

 

1.     I am the LORD your God.

     You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

2.     You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

3.     Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

4.     Honor your father and your mother.

5.     You shall not kill.

6.     You shall not commit adultery.

7.     You shall not steal.

8.     You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9.     You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

10.                        You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

In a 1999 retreat on the Decalogue, the Venerable John A. Hardon, S.J. (whose beatification process is in progress), addressed the modernistic, secular challenge that the Ten Commandments had come from a time nearly 3000 years ago and were no longer applicable to our ever-changing world and its new ways of thinking and living:

 

“…The Ten Commandments or the Decalogue were given to Moses in the Old Testament; whereas, Christian sanctity by definition is the holiness which Christ offered to His followers in the New Testament.  The Ten Commandments are the absolute minimum that God expects of human beings as a condition for their reaching an eternal destiny, whereas Christian sanctity represents the maximum that human beings with the help of God’s grace can give in their loving dedication to God and therefore total self-surrender to His Divine Will.  It is like comparing the minimum with the maximum,...but with God’s grace….the Ten Commandments are the condition for the highest form of sanctity….

 

“…The Ten Commandments are an integral part of the New Testament.  There is an understandable tendency in some cultures to practically identify the Ten Commandments with the Old Testament.  This is partly due to the fact that in almost twenty centuries since the coming of Christ, many Christians have abandoned some of the hard teachings of Jesus Christ: notably on the two most demanding virtues:  chastity and charity….

 

“…We have the true faith, and the true faith means the whole faith….Jesus did not abolish the Ten Commandments.  He retained the Decalogue, elevating the Ten Commandments to previously unknown heights…St. Matthew gives us Christ’s long Sermon on the Mount.  What is it?  It is the Ten Commandments updated…but now, with such demands on human nature as had never been made since the fall of man until God became man to restore man to his condition before the fall….Christ both retained and sublimated the Decalogue to a Divine degree….Because God became man to confer the grace to make it possible, the Decalogue of the New Law makes demands on human nature that God never expected even of His chosen people before the coming of Christ,…but since His coming, are not only possible, but imperative.  Christ then raised the capacity of human nature to do the Will of God by His promise of extraordinary light for the mind and strength and for the will for those who believe in His Name….

 

“…When God became man,…He assumed a truly free human will.  He became like us in everything except sin…..Christ bound Himself, which He did not have to, to live a really authentically human life in order to teach us how we should live as His followers…He showed us how God-become-Man lives in conformity to the laws which God Himself laid on His own creatures.  He practiced all the virtues prescribed by the Decalogue, notably and reductively the two fundamental virtues of loving God and our neighbor….Christ conformed His Will to the Will of His Father against the demonic forces which instigated His enemies to treacherous envy, hatred,  and such violence as finally nailed Him to the Cross…

 

“There is no one like God, and that is the holiness of God….To be holy means to be different….God became man to live for us, God became man to die for us…and God became man to continue living with us…in the Eucharist….so that by following Him as man, we might become like Him Who is our God.

 

“…Sanctity is Christ-likeness…. Sanctity depends on the grace of God.  God must give us what we call sanctifying grace… ‘holifying’ grace.  That’s what happens to us when we are baptized.  We were made holy and given the powers to grow in holiness….Growth in holiness means becoming more holy than we were when we were baptized.  That is why we have trials and temptations….But we must recognize the grace…and use the grace.

 

“…Christ practiced humility….Unlike us, did Christ need to be humiliated?  No.  Do we need it? We sure do….Our best friends are those who humiliate us….We meditate on Christ’s patience under superhuman opposition and malicious persecution…If we are to grow in holiness we must meditate on …the meaning behind the way Christ lived in His practice of chastity.  Unlike us, Christ did not have unruly sexual passions….Christ practiced obedience by His submission to His own creatures even when they were such holy persons as Mary and Joseph,…unholy persons including the cowardly and treacherous Pontius Pilate, and those who not only did not love Him but maligned Him, unjustly condemned Him and even on Calvary mocked what they considered His blasphemous claims to the Messianic dignity….

 

“…Christ told us that, ‘If you love Me, keep my Commandments’….The Ten Commandments are the commandments of Jesus Christ who is our God, Who is the God Who gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments are Christ’s Commandments which He lived out during His mortal human stay on earth.  All we have to do is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in living the Ten Commandments as He did, and then not only is our destiny assured, but we’ll experience such peace and joy as only those can who conform their stubborn wills to the will of God in living the Decalogue as God became man to teach us….”  (The Decalogue and Christian Sanctity, Hardon, S. J., Fr. John A., 1999)

 

 

“…Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him: “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart,

and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.

This is the greatest and the first commandment.

And the second is like to this:

Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.

On these two commandments depend the whole law and the prophets….”

(Mt 22:36-40)

 

 

We learn from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that we are all called to holiness, to the ascetic life and to mortification that it requires, to become the adopted children of God through Whose intimate relationship we are able to grow in God’s Love as demonstrated by the charity that can flow forth from us:

 

“All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.  All are called to holiness:  ‘Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48) (CCC 2013)  Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ….God calls us all to this intimate union with Him.  (CCC 2014)  The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross.  There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.  Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes.  (CCC 2015)….Grace is the help God gives us to respond to our vocation of becoming His adopted sons (daughters).  It introduces us into the intimacy of the Trinitarian life.  (CCC 2021)  The grace of the Holy Spirit can confer true merit on us, by virtue of our adoptive filiation, and in accordance with God’s gratuitous justice.  Charity is the principal source of merit in us before God.”  (CCC 2026)

 

“…And now I beseech thee,

not as writing a new commandment to thee,

but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

And this is charity, that we walk according to His commandments….”

(2Jn 1:5)

 

THE EIGHT BEATITUDES OF JESUS

 

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 


Blessed are they who mourn,
 for they shall be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek,
 for they shall inherit the earth. 

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
 
for they shall be satisfied.
 

Blessed are the merciful,
 for they shall obtain mercy. 

Blessed are the pure of heart,
 for they shall see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers,
 for they shall be called children of God. 

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

(Matthew 5:3-10)

 

So on what basis does Mother Church, from its position of God-given moral authority, appropriately apply God’s Commandments and Beatitudes from the past, now 3 millennia into modern times?  On whose authority does Mother Church rest in holding fast to its traditional positions on faith and morals essential to the pursuit of holiness in an ever-changing society that is becoming more and more faithless and immoral?  Sacred Scripture answers that question:

 

“…If thou wilt hear the voice of the Lord thy God,

and do what is right before Him, and obey His commandments,

and keep all his precepts,

none of the evils that I laid upon Egypt, will I bring upon thee:

for I am the Lord thy healer….”

(Ex 15:26)

 

“…In your observance of the commandments of the Lord, your God,

which I enjoin upon you,

you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it….”

(Dt 4:2)

 

“…For I am the Lord, and I change not….”

(Mal 3:6)

 

“…Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same forever.

Be not led away with various and strange doctrines….”

(Heb 13:8)

 

“…But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name,

he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind,

whatsoever I shall have said to you….”

(Jn 14:26)

 

…But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father,

the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father,

he shall give testimony of Me….”

(Jn 15:26)

 

“…Do not err, therefore, my dearest brethren.

Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above,

coming down from the Father of lights,

with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration….”

(James 1:17)


”…He who says that he knows Him,

and keeps not His commandments, is a liar,

and the Truth is not in him….”

(1Jn 2:4)

 

Therefore, since it appears from Sacred Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments that God—Father, Son & Holy Spirit—is not exactly open to change when it comes to the pursuit of holiness,  then let us explore what Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Lessons to the world and Our Lady of Emmitsburg through her Messages—both through Gianna Sullivan—have taught us about that call to holiness, what it entails, and the Oneness of Our Lord with His Father in bringing about this plan of salvation for all of humanity:

 

          Our Lord:

“My child, I would like you to start being and living the holiness of Me—not only in your actions, but in your daily thoughts and feelings.  Do not be holy on the surface.  Be holy within and throughout your entire body.  Be Me!...”  (JOM, Vol 1, #1, Sept. 20, 1988)

 

“…I grant the grace of wisdom and the material necessary for knowledge, but you must desire holiness and achieve it through your own merit.  Be loyal to the law and practice it in obedience.  This is the road of holiness….”  (JOM, Vol II, #52, Mar. 24, 1990)

 

“…I want my people to be at peace with this call to holiness, to living moment to moment, day by day.  Be at peace.  Do not fear. Put aside anxiousness, impatience and frustrations….When you see people walking ways of confusion and being deceived by falsehoods, pray for them.  Pray for Truth….Be gentle with those people with whom you are frustrated.

 

“I am Holy; and only I know the depth of the incentives of your heart, so can therefore work good out of these situations.  Remain whole in your relationship with Me first, above all; and then your love, gentleness and humble way will speak from a distance to all in need….” (JOM, Vol IV #88, Sept 4, 1992)

 

Our Lady of Emmitsburg:

“Do you remember a long time ago?  It was in the month of September in the year 1988, when my Son told you, “Be holy as I am holy, not only on the surface, but in your thoughts and in your deeds.  Be holy as I am holy.  Be Me.”  ….To be holy is to be consecrated to God the Father.  To be holy is a sacred moment indeed.  To be holy is to be pure and perfect with the Sacred Love of my Son.  It is more than being one who is just religious and prayerful.  To be holy is to be saintly….” (Private OLOE, Dec. 31, 2002)

 

It was Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a modern day saint familiar to many of all faiths throughout the world, who so aptly put “holiness” in the context of saintliness:

 

“We must have a real living determination to reach holiness.  ‘I will be a saint’ means I will despoil myself of all that is not God; I will strip my heart of all created things; I will live in poverty and detachment; I will renounce my will, my inclinations, my whims and fancies, and make myself a willing slave to the Will of God.” 

 

To accomplish this, one would certainly benefit by having a special relationship with the Eternal Father.

 

It seems that so much of the world, even the very well spiritually grounded people, in spite of a well-developed relationship with Our Lord and Our Lady, and possibly even the Holy Spirit, have a less well-defined relationship with God the Father.  Our Lord in His Lessons consistently tries so hard to help all of us to better understand the desired relationship with Our Father:

 

“…My Father has so much to give….He is tender and kind and comforts all in their pain.  Yet, few seek Him and desire to have a truly personal relationship with Him because they keep their distance from Me.  There is nothing that God will not forgive in His merciful Love when a repentant heart asks for His Mercy and forgives himself.  Those who seek God’s Mercy are humble and they enter the gateway to wisdom and holiness….”  (JOM, Vol V, #19, Sept. 12, 1995)

 

“…I want all My people to know that I am here for them at their asking.  I surround them with Love, and I hope they will desire the counsels of Truth.  It is my hope that they will practice filial submission to Divine Providence.  This allows them to rest in My Father’s arms as a child rests in its mother’s arms.  Conforming the soul to Divine Providence allows the soul to rest in peace and gives hope to the weary….I am calling My people to return back to God….I have given them the tools of prayer and the consoling truths of My existence.  I have desired them to learn, to be free, and to grow in holiness….” (JOM, Vol V, #29, Nov. 9, 1995)

 

Central in any discussion of our relationship with our Eternal Father is the role of God’s unfathomable Mercy.  Our Lady of Emmitsburg links that Mercy with the Truth, His Love, His Divine Providence, our perfection and our growth in holiness:

 

 “…God’s Mercy is infinite and His Love all abounding in Truth….Love cures every ailment and is the healing balm to hatred.  Love strengthens the soul and can cure any illness.  Love lives by the Will of God with fortitude and perseverance as the virtues to holiness….You can love all people, even though you may not receive love in return….”  (Public OLOE, Dec. 21, 1995)

 

“…Trust yourself entirely to God and His Divine Providence….Nothing can happen without His Divine permission…God has infinite wisdom, and all His ways are good.  He leads you to holiness and perfection of His Love.  Trust yourselves entirely to His Divine Providence and give Him complete power over your lives….”  (Public OLOE, June 1, 1995)

 

“…Is not love the one virtue which combines all the other virtues to reflect holiness?...It is the greatest gift and the one virtue which reveals the truth of the incentives in your heart.  You cannot say you love unconditionally if you are unkind, do not bear patiently wrongs against you, and do not help those in need, or if you take joy in others’ failings.  Love rejoices in salvation and seeks good things for all people….”  (Public OLOE, May 27, 1999)

 

“…If you love my Son with your entire being, your attention span will not drift and you will remain single of heart and in union with Him.  What matters is that you willingly offer your blind awareness and your entire being, stripped of speculation and qualities, to my Son with a joyful love.  In this way you will be spiritually one with Him, and His grace will bind you to His precious Being, as He is in Himself….It is enough to praise Jesus with the offering of your naked being.  Thoughts of your attributes and qualities or mediated misery will not further your growth or bring you closer to perfection.  It is your blind awareness and an undivided heart which will gain you perfection in His Love and allow you to grow in holiness….”   (Public OLOE, May 15, 1997)

 

“…Bring forth the people that are blind, and have eyes;

that are deaf, and have ears.

All the nations are assembled together, and the tribes are gathered.

Who among you can declare this, and shall make us hear the former things?  Let them bring forth their witnesses,

let them be justified, and hear, and say:

“It is true.”

You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servants

whom I have chosen to know, and believe me,

and understand that I myself am.

Before Me there was no God formed, and after Me there shall be none….”

(Is 43:8-10)

 

The Decalogue and the Beatitudes, the words from Sacred Scripture, the Lessons from Our Lord and the Messages from Our Lady of Emmitsburg,  and the reflections of Fr. John Hardon, S.J. all sound beautiful and profound and even holy, but they also should prompt each of us to ask ourselves some very serious and pertinent questions:

 

Am I holy?

Is my family holy?

Are my friends holy?

Do I live in a holy nation?

Do I desire to be truly holy?

Are my religious beliefs and practices holy?

 

Our Lady of Emmitsburg:

“Little ones, I love you.  God loves you.  Remember these important items:

1.     You should love with all your heart.

2.     You should be detached from things that prevent you from growing in holiness.

3.     You should have the poverty of spirit and profound humility in all that you do.

4.     Watch what comes from your lips, because what comes from your lips, for every word you will be held accountable.

5.     Work on gentleness of spirit.  No one is perfect, but try and love and keep trying…. (Private OLOE, June 28, 2009)

 

In the final Part 4B, The Cult, we will explore what holiness may have become in this modern secular world, and the path far too few are taking to get there.

End of Part 4A

Our Personal Holiness

 

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

(Ps 144:5)