The first order of business is to review what has been said regarding faulty notions of holiness. To do this, we will discuss the following:
The basic personal goods we all desire.
The basic relational goods we all desire.
The basic spiritual goods we all desire.
Holiness, if understood properly, is the attainment of the things which we truly desire. Then we will be happy! It is true that a certain amount of self-denial and even repression may be necessary in the early stages of our growth. This is because our desires are blind forces that, left unchecked, will lead us to destruction. They must first be ordered properly, then they will work as they should by aiming us toward the good with zeal and thus, be more trustworthy.
The following is a recap of the various goods, which motivate our actions.
Desires or what we will refer to as goods pertaining to the preservation of the physical life. Examples of these goods: nourishment, health, sleep, sexuality, exercise, security and safety.
Goods relating to knowledge or intellectual life. Examples of this good: reading this article to learn about growth in holiness and discipleship, as well as studying on our own.
Goods relating to the experience of beauty. Examples: experiencing physical attraction to one’s spouse, desire for art, enjoyment of pleasant music.
Goods relating to achievement. For example: developing skills to perform or play well, as well as accomplishing a deed with excellence.
Goods relating to other human persons. Obviously, friendships and marriage fall here.
Finally, goods relating to supernatural persons. Hence, we seek to attend holy Mass, receive the sacraments, pray and meditate and theological study.
Victor Frankl, a survivor of Auschwitz, stated that he was able to survive the horrors of the Nazi death camps because he was able to find meaning in his suffering that gave him the strength to survive. Indeed, we all must have meaning in our life so to stay engaged. Otherwise, we will just check out. Our survival depends on our ability to find meaning.
Next issue — The plan of life: Establishing holiness.