Tag Archives: holiness

Leviticus 17-22:

The Holiness Code:
This section of Leviticus repeatedly states the mantra: “Be holy as I the Lord your God is holy.”  All must bring sacrifices to the Meeting Tent, and sacrifice to Yahweh alone.  There must be no sacrifices outside in the wilderness to the “goat demons,” satyrs, and other such pagan practices.  For serious sins the person will receive a “kharat” severe punishment, that is, either: excommunication and cut-off from the camp, or the death penalty. Leviticus gives 19 different instances where kharat punishment is recommended.  These include things like missing the Sabbath, drinking blood, idolatry to Molech, illicit sexual relations, etc.  Some sins are so grave that they “defile the land,” and nothing else is left to be done than to wipe all inhabitants clean from the land. No incest, no adultery, no fornication, no homosexual relations, and no bestiality.  These are called abominations.  “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination.” (Lev. 18:22) The Hebrews consider these contrary to Creation-order, or contrary to pro-creation.  They are contrary to the design the way the Creator intended them. The Hebrews were very pro-family and pro-life, and followed what Catholics call “Natural Law.” Our morality displayed in the design of nature.  For example, male and female are made with a complementary way for reproduction. Anything against that complementariness is against Natural Law, or against the created order of things.  It is against the way the Creator designed it.  Leviticus, like Genesis and other parts of the Bible, use the idiomatic phrase to “see the nakedness” or “uncover the nakedness of” someone, means essentially to have sex with that person.  So, when Ham “sees the nakedness” of Noah, he actually has incestuous sex with Noah’s wife, Ham’s own mother.  For that sin, Noah curses Canaan, the apparent offspring of Ham and his mother.  Hence, the cursed Canaanites are a troublesome people for the Israelites throughout their history.

Lev.19: the “Mini-Torah”:
This chapter mirrors the statements of the Ten Commandments and re-emphasizes them again.  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18) These words were quoted by Jesus as part of the summation of the Commandments, along with the Shema.  It also adds other admonitions: “Do not practice divination or soothsaying.” (v.26); “Do not go to mediums or consult fortune-tellers, for you will be defiled by them.” (v.31) These occult practices are to open oneself up to influence by other “gods” or demonic spirits.

Lev. 20: Prohibitions on Other Various Sins:
“Anyone . . who gives any of his offspring to Molech shall be put to death. Let his fellow citizens stone him.” (Lev. 20:2)  Then, a litany of sins and death penalties follow, particularly for breaking the Ten Commandments.  “Anyone who curses his father or mother shall be put to death.” (v.9)  “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” (v.13)  “If a man has carnal relations with an animal, the man shall be put to death, and the animal shall be slain.” (v.15)  Yahweh then warns them to observe all His statutes lest the land “will vomit you out.” (v.22)  “Do not conform, therefore, to the customs of the nations whom I am driving out of your way, because all these things that they have done have filled me with disgust for them.” (v.23)

Summing Up the Holiness Code:
“But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who have separated you from the peoples. You shall therefore make a distinction between the clean beast and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; you shall not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. You shall be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” (Lev. 20:24-26) Holiness is about distinctiveness. Don’t do what the pagans do. Yahweh is about life, completeness, wholeness, perfection. If we want to share this living space with God, this sacred space, we must conform to His life, wholeness, completeness and perfection. God chooses to be in relation with us. He made a Covenant with the Israelites, and ultimately, with us. We must be holy as God is holy.

Leviticus 11-15:

The Cleanliness Code:
Clean and Unclean is different from Holy and not Holy. Cleanliness is the measure of suitability of something to be in the presence of God.  Holiness is the measure of the presence of God itself.  Something can be “clean” and “common,” not necessarily “holy.”  If something is “unclean” then it is needs to be made “clean,” and then, it can be “holy.”  The state of cleanliness is the suitability of something to be in the presence of God.  To be “unclean” does not necessarily mean someone has sinned or committed immorality.  It is a ritual status, not a moral status.

The Food Laws:
At the beginning of the world, Adam and Eve were vegetarians.  After the Flood, God allows Noah to eat any kind of animal (except flesh with the blood in it – Gen. 9:3-4; “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Jesus supersedes this injunction with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist).  Now, here in the Mosaic epoch, God further restricts what animals are to be eaten and not eaten. The so-called “food laws” tells the Israelites what are “clean” animals that you can eat, and “unclean” animals that you cannot eat.  God then tells Moses which animals are clean and which are not clean.  The first category is the ruminants, or beasts of the field, such as cows and sheep. There are three conditions to eat of a ruminant.  Those are: it has hooves, it is cloven-footed, and it chews cud.  If it does not meet all three requirements, then it is unclean.  Unclean ruminants include: the camel, the badger, the hare, the pig (which is one of the most well-known and most identifiable “non-kosher” Jewish foods, ie, no pork or pork products).  One of the archeological indicators of Israelite settlements was the distinct lack of swine or pig bones found. Then come the water animals, which must have fins and scales to be clean.  Any water creatures that lack fins and scales are deemed unclean and they may not eat them (“is loathsome for you”).  Next, are the birds and creatures of the air.  Basically, the birds of prey that eat dead flesh are considered unclean, such as the eagle, vulture, osprey, crows, gulls, hawks, owls, buzzards, storks, and bats, etc.  Next, are the unclean flying insects, only the grasshopper, locust or cricket is acceptable.  John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and ate locusts (Mt. 3:4)  Finally, “all creatures that swarm on the ground are loathsome and shall not be eaten.” (Lev. 11:41)

Why Food Laws?:
There are five or six main explanations for the food laws. None are comprehensive or totally persuasive in and of themselves.  It is probably a combination of these reasons that God issues the food laws.  (1) Hygenic theory.  This is theory that these unlcean animals are bad for humans and not healthy, such as pork for spreading trichinosis.  This theory is popular today, although is probably not very consistent.  Every species if not properly cooked could contain parasites.  (2) The Aesthetic theory: the animals are unclean because they’re repugnant to humans.  By way of analogy, if it is repugnant to humans it is probably repugnant to their deity. If it can be sacrificed and offered on our table, it can probably be offered to the deity.  If it is not on our table, then it cannot be food for God either.  (3) Ethical theory: God restricted eating animals as a means for the Israelites to grow in self-control and limit their violence and shedding of blood. (4) Anatomical theory: This suggests that these animals represent “anomalies” within their species.  They’re misfits, and as outliers, they are unclean.  Any animals that lack the specifications of their category or are a “mixing” of categories or species are deemed unclean.  (5) Cultural theory: There is a cultural aspect to this as well.  The Israelites are culturally, as a people in a particular place and time, repulsed by certain animals and practices.  This is incorporated into some of their food laws.

(6) Cultic or Liturgical theory:
This is probably the most persuasive and logical of all the explanations.  Animals deemed unclean were associated with pagan rituals and sacrifices.  They were prominent in pagan cults and the most common animals sacrificed in pagan rituals (ie, the pig in Canaanite sacrifices). Thus, a prohibition of killing and sacrificing certain animals would be a means to separate Israel out from the surrounding pagan populations.  A way of being “set apart” and holy, as much of Leviticus is concerned about the distinctiveness of Yahweh and His people, the Israelites.  On the other hand, acceptable animals to sacrifice, such as the bull and the ram, are representation of Egyptian gods like the bull-god Apis and the cow-god Hathor.  Yahweh commanding the Israelites to sacrifice bulls and rams is a means to distance the Israelites from the pagan idolatry that they were immersed in for 400 years in Egypt.  It is an attempt to de-Egyptianize the Israelites.  In a broader sense, it is an attempt to de-Canaanize and de-paganize the Israelites through regular, and daily, sacrifice of pagan-gods.  Similar prohibitions found in Leviticus against offering honey, and boiling a kid in his mother’s milk, ritual shavings and mutilations were all about distancing the Israelites from pagan practices.  The food laws are another aspect of being distinctive, set apart, and holy.

Ritual Purity and Impurity:
Ritual purity is not about sin.  It is about fitness to occupy sacred space.  A sin offering is about “decontamination” or “purification,” not sin.  A guilt offering is about making reparation.  For example, Mary making an offering after the birth of Jesus is not about sin, but about becoming ritually pure.  Something or someone becoming ritually impure has to do with (1) coming into contact with death; or (2) a loss of “life.”  These issues stem around: childbirth, leprosy, emission of semen, menstruation, and marital intercourse (loss of semen).  These focus on the loss of “life fluids,” such as blood, water and semen.  These are fluids that produce life.  To lose life, is to be less than “whole.”  God did not make us originally to not be whole, but to be whole and complete.  God is wholeness and completeness.  Thus, if someone loses their life fluid by one means or another, that renders them not whole, or in Levitical terms, ritually unclean, impure.  Sexual activity and the loss of bodily fluids then renders one ritually impure.  Having a baby, or menstruation and the loss of blood, also renders one ritually impure. This is not about sin, but about fitness for sacred space.  Anything outside of the “normative, creation natural order” renders one ritually impure.  A person must be “whole” to enter into the perfection of the sacred space of the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle is the new Eden.  It is the perfection that God originally intended in the Garden of Eden.  It is God’s dwelling place.  God is perfection, and wholeness, and life itself.  For one to enter His space, one must be whole and in an “ideal form” of wholeness and completeness.  To have lost “life” fluids or to have touched death, is to be less than fully whole and fully full of life, or in a word, imperfect.

Skin Diseases:
Skin diseases and leprosy also render an individual ritually impure and unfit to enter the sacred space of the Tabernacle. General skin ailments, not just Hansen’s disease (ie, leprosy), renders one ritually impure. There is no sin in skin disease, but one is not “whole,” as God had originally designed humanity. Something in the body is amiss. It is not as the original creation order. God is not admonishing against any particular sin, but teaching an object lesson about the perfection of God. The Tabernacle is the new Garden of Eden; a place of perfection, and a place for man to be like God had originally intended; whole and complete; full of life, not death.

Cedar Wood, Scarlet Yarn, and Hyssop:
Leviticus repeatedly tells the Israelites to purify people and places by using “cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop.”  This purification and atonement is reminiscent of the wood of the Cross; scarlet yarn hearkens to red blood of Christ; and the hyssop branch that they used to annoint the Passover lamb’s blood to the door and the hyssop branch to give Jesus a taste of the “4th cup” of wine, or vinegar, on the Cross before He died.  In short, these have connotations of Jesus’ Cross.  We are made clean through the Cross of Christ.

God is Distinct, Set Apart, Holy:
Through the purity laws, God is reminded His people that He is perfect and holy.  He is set apart, distinct.  In contrast, humanity is imperfect.  God is wholeness, completeness, perfection, and life itself.  The ritual purity reminds humanity of reverence to creation-order, and reverence for life itself.  We are less than perfect, but should reverence the normative life as designed by the Creator.  The Tabernacle is not a place for incompleteness, death, less than ideal form or imperfection.  It is a place for the otherness of Yahweh. Man can prove his loyalty to Yahweh by adhering to His ritual purity regulations.  God comes to dwell with man again in the new perfect location of the Tabernacle, the new Eden.

Leviticus 8-10:

Gradations of Holiness:
Only the priests could enter in beyond the altar.  Sacred space could not be polluted.  Leviticus offers many “object lessons” reflecting the holiness and distinctness of God.  The sanctity of the presence of God is reflected in the symbols and objects of the Tabernacle.  The farther one goes into the Tabernacle, the higher the gradation of holiness and sanctity of the sacred object and the sacred space.  Once the Tabernacle is consecrated it is no longer called the Tabernacle, but now the “Tent of Meeting” or the “Meeting Tent.” Now, God will meet with His people. The name change is due to the fact that it is now an active, sanctified and consecrated sacred space, where God will commune and fellowship with His people, Israel.

Consecration of Aaron as High Priest, and his sons:
The ordination ritual of the Levitical priesthood followed certain steps: (1) washing of water; (2) vesting of Aaron the High Priest; (3) Anointing with oil on the priests, Tabernacle, altar and sacred objects; (4) vesting of Aaron’s sons; (5) Sacrifices for ordination; (6) Ordination banquet of flesh and blood sacrifices.

Priestly Ordination:
Aaron is girded with a tunic, a sash, a robe; they placed an ephod on him; a breastpiece on him, with the “Urim and Thummim” in it; a mitre on his head, attaching a gold plate, a sacred diadem on the front of the mitre over the forehead.  To enter into sacred space requires sacred attire. Over his forehead was inscribed: “Holy to Yahweh”.  The High Priest was the representative of the whole nation of Israel.  You do not enter into the presence of God in shoddy attire, so God in fact instructed Moses and Aaron how the High Priest was to dress in His presence.  The High Priestly attire in fact sounds a lot like the attire worn, later by Bishops and the Pope.  This is not coincidental.  The priestly vestments of the Old Covenant Levites are carried over into the New Covenant episcopal garb.  In the rite of ordination, the High Priest was anointed with oil and consecrated from head to foot.  They threw blood on the altar (God), on the people (Israel), and on the priests. This harkens back to the Sinai Covenant (Ex. 24) where they performed similar rites.  At the end of the ordination and consecration rituals: “And fire came forth from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat upon the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” (Lev. 9:24)

Urim and Thummim:
These are mysterious stone objects placed in the breastpiece of the High Priest.  They were apparently used as a divination device to discern the will of God.  (ie, Thummim means “innocent” or “yes” and Urim means “curse” or “no.”  It was a subjective and imprecise process.  1 Samuel 14 shows Saul casting them down to try to discern God’s will. This was a time before there were any scriptures.  For 13 months they stayed at Mt. Sinai.  There was no Old Testament, Torah, and certainly no New Testament.  There were not yet any prophets or kings.  This was an early stage of God revealing Himself to His people and revealing His will.  The Thummim and Urim would progressively give way to more divine knowledge with the Scriptures, and the prophets, and eventually to the very Word of God’s Incarnation with Jesus Christ, who will be face to face with His people.

Banquet of Flesh and Bread:
This theme of “flesh and bread” is carried throughout the Old Covenant and into the New, preparing Israel for the arrival of the Eucharist, the flesh of Christ hidden under the appearance of bread.  “Boil the flesh at the door of the tent of meeting, and there eat it and the bread that is in the basket of ordination offerings, as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it’” (Lev. 8:31)

Deaths of Nadab and Abihu:
Two of Aaron’s sons offered “strange fire” or “profane fire” before the Lord that had not been authorized. Because they did not follow protocol, “fire therefore came forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed them, so that they died in His presence.” (Lev. 10:2)  Being in the presence of God is a fearful and dangerous thing, something we should not take lightly.  Church, in the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, is a holy thing. It is the new sacred space.

Divine Filiation and Ordinary Life, St.Josemaria Escriva – January 20, 2016

“The street does not get in the way of our contemplative dialogue; the hubbub of the world is, for us, a place of prayer.” St.Josemaria Escriva (letter 9, Jan.1959, No.60)

St.Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was a Catholic priest from Spain in the 20th century who founded the Catholic organization, Opus Dei, “The Work of God,” a personal prelature comprised of lay people and clergy. The mission of Opus Dei is to evangelize Christians everywhere to live out their faith in their ordinary lives, to sanctify their daily work, and offer it all up to God. As St.Josemaria Escriva said, We have come to point to the example of Jesus, who spent thirty years in Nazareth, working at His job. In Jesus’ hands, work, an ordinary job like that done by millions of people throughout the world, becomes a divine task, a redeeming job, a path of salvation.” Josemaria was the “saint of ordinary life.” On October 2, 1928, God gave him an overwhelming vision. It was of ordinary Christians, who direct all their activity towards God, as a sanctifying sacrifice in participation with their baptismal vocation in the priesthood of Christ. He saw ordinary Christians sanctifying their daily work and activities by uniting them with the life of Christ. He saw the laity, of every background and race and profession and social status, all becoming apostles, saints in the world. Factory worker saints, farmer saints, carpenter saints, teacher saints, regardless of their profession or work, no matter how small, average or ordinary, they could all be saints. This is echoed in Lumen Gentium from Vatican II with the “universal call to holiness.” (LG, 5) All people, not just the clerical and religious class, but all people are called to holiness, even the lowliest of the laity are called to “be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16) Josemaria called this “The Way,” or more precisely, the way of sanctification. By this, he meant that we should unite our daily duties, whatever they may be, with God, through Christ; that is, to live out our Christian vocation within our daily secular vocation. Then, our daily secular work will become divine work that transforms us into holy apostles of Christ.

But, how is any of this possible? The key to St.Josemaria is “divine filiation,” the idea that, through Baptism, we have become God’s children. In Baptism, we are born by grace into the death and life of Christ, and become by grace what Jesus is by nature, namely, a son of God. St.John says See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jn. 3:1) This idea is scattered throughout the New Testament. St.Paul says to the Romans, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God… but you received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God..” (Rom. 8:14-16) In the second letter of Peter, he says God has let us “become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Pet. 1:4) Even Jesus Himself quotes Psalms 82:6 saying, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” (Jn.10:34) Of course, He also teaches us at the Sermon on the Mount to pray to God by radically calling Him “Our Father.” (Mt.6:9) As part of our redemption and sanctification in Christ, St.Josemaria points out, it also involves our deification and divinization. We are no longer just servants created by God, but rather, we have been grafted through Jesus into the divine family. We have become adopted sons and daughters of the Father, and brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, by incarnating into the world, humanized His divinity, and divinized His humanity. God reached down to humanity, so humanity could reach up to God. By giving us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit and grace, we can become one with Jesus in our life, just as the Persons of the Trinity, in their inner relationship, are one. Through Baptism and faith, we are brought into oneness with Jesus, and then, necessarily into the life of the Holy Trinity. Jesus prayed this in the Garden of Gethsemane saying “As you, Father, are in Me and I am in You, may they also be in Us..” (Jn 17:21) This is the scandal of Christianity. Not only do we believe in a singular divine, omnipotent Being, but we also believe that He came into the world to personally save us, and by grace, adopt us into His divine family of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By nothing of ourselves, but only by the free gift of faith and grace, God makes us part of His family.

So, what is the significance of all of this? Firstly, we should recognize our special dignity as Christians, and our unique status conferred upon us in Baptism. The gift of faith, the Church, the sacraments should not be taken lightly. We should live our lives uprightly as fitting as children of God. As St.Peter states, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” (1 Pet. 2:9) We have been baptized into the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ, the one true mediator between God and man. So, we are anointed as a priest of Christ, as part of the common priesthood of the faithful. (CCC 1547) St.Josemaria urged us that we should have a “lay mentality” with a “priestly soul.” Yet, unlike an ordained ministerial priest who offers the sacrifice of the Mass, what are we, as ordinary lay people, to offer and sacrifice? To answer that, we should understand that Jesus’ whole life was a mystery of redemption. (CCC 517) Even before Jesus’ passion and death, He was performing redemptive acts in His daily private life, which He lived for thirty years. Jesus lived the ordinary life of each one of us, a private life of work and daily routine, and as part of a family. During Jesus’ “hidden life,” He sanctified our everyday existence. Since Jesus, as God, became man, all of His life and actions were that of a divine Being. Jesus divinized humanity, and made holy everything in His ordinary life, from work, to leisure, to eating and meals, to family and friendship. Jesus sanctified everyday life. The people of Jesus’ day who saw Him declared, “He has done everything well.” (Mk. 7:37) Jesus lived out perfectly the common priesthood of the faithful that God had intended for Adam and Eve. He is our perfect model. (CCC 520) Jesus offered His priestly action and sacrifice throughout His whole life, including the thirty years of His private life, so that while He worked in Joseph’s carpenter shop, He offered work as a redemptive spiritual sacrifice. Jesus made possible the elevation and transformation of all of our mundane, ordinary actions into acts of divine worship. Because God performed these actions and lived this life, He has made them holy. So now, too, we as His divinely adopted children, can in conjunction with Him and His life, offer to God, all of our everyday routines and works as spiritual sacrifice, prayer, worship and praise. We can now fulfill our role as children of God, imitators of Christ, striving to become holy and sanctified, interceding on behalf of the souls of others, exercising our common priesthood of the faithful in the midst of the streets and homes and workplaces of the world.     

Jesus said “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (Jn. 12:32), and so, St.Josemaria had another vision of God drawing all men and women to Himself through their ordinary lives and occupations and vocations throughout the world, becoming “another Christ,” or Christs, within the world. Jesus endowed our work and our actions and our sufferings with divine efficaciousness. St.Paul mentions this idea saying, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church..” (Col. 1:24) Because of the mystery of the Incarnation, we are connected in some way with the life of Christ and His redemptive actions. We can offer all of our works, prayers, and sacrifices in conjunction with His. God has willed that we can, in effect, be co-redeemers and co-workers of Christ in the mystery of sanctification and redemption, both of ourselves and of others. For through our Baptism and in the Eucharist, we are connected to Jesus and in a real way with each other. We form, as it were, a communion of saints. Our work then is the sanctification of ourselves and of each other, in unity with the grace of Christ. As St.Paul says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thess. 4:3) Now, through Christ, we can “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) by offering worship to God through our everyday activities. All things sacred need not be relegated just to Church on Sundays while the rest of the week is occupied by the secular, devoid of holiness. God wills that all of our lives, each and every day, be holy and sanctified, worshipping God ceaselessly. (1 Thess. 5:17) We can do that by offering sacred worship to God through our secular ordinary activities. St.Josemaria cautioned against living a “double-life,” but rather instead, we should live an “integrated life,” single-minded in the pursuit of holiness. The key is bringing the presence of God into our lives, in whatever it is we are doing, making the secular holy.

And how can we bring the presence of God into our lives in whatever we are doing? Well, first off, this is not necessarily a loud, visible obvious presence. On the contrary, this is an invisible, interior apostolate. This is us, interiorly asking for the presence of God in our lives each day, consecrating all of our actions, submitting even our “small” actions, to God, in order to please Him. This involves our invisible, interior relationship with Him directly. We can join all of our work to the saving work of Jesus, again via the mystery of the Incarnation. Now, St.Josemaria asks, in effect, should we leave our jobs or families, and run off to do great, heroic deeds, or join a contemplative, monastic order in order to please God? No, not necessarily. Although some most certainly are called to religious life, most are not. As St.Paul again instructs us, “Every one should remain in the state in which he was called.” (1 Cor. 7:20) We can be at peace with where we are, and work out our sanctification amidst the circumstances we find ourselves.

Yet, to answer the original question, St.Josemaria recommended a number of daily markers and spiritual milestones to follow each day. These spiritual practices, a daily “plan of life,” followed by Opus Dei begin with offering a Morning Offering, or prayer immediately once we wake up in the morning; attending Mass each day if possible; prayer, such as saying the Rosary and the Angelus; reading the Gospels or scriptures, or a spiritual book; offering small acts of penance and mortifications; adoration before the tabernacle; three hail Marys at bedtime, examination of your conscience and asking forgiveness at night before going to bed. He also recommended regular sacramental confession and yearly spiritual retreats. By sticking to these simple milestones throughout the day, the person spiritually orders his or her workday to worship. Thus, our most common actions become spiritual sacrifices, offered in our temples (of our lives), which can be anywhere and everywhere of everyday life. St.Paul exhorts us directly to do this, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom. 12:1) Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes also highlights that this glorification of God in our lives “concerns the whole of everyday activity.” (GS, 34) Our most basic tasks can be transformed into supernatural activities, ie, folding laundry, cooking dinner, serving customers at work can become holy acts of worship. So, we should strive, as Jesus did, to “do all things well,” and offer everything we do for the glorification of God and the sanctification of ourselves and for each other. Our secular day should be wrapped in spiritual prayer and sacrifice. This is part of the “pure offering” mentioned by the prophet Malachi (Mal.1:11) St.Josemaria spoke of how we should live: “Live as the others around you live with naturalness, but ‘supernaturalizing’ every moment of your day.” This is how we should approach each day, with a “holy ambition,” to ambitiously pursue holiness in the ordinary things of life. We are not called out of the world, but to sanctify the world from within, as leaven within the dough, to raise up Christ in ourselves and in our actions and in our place in life, as St.Josemaria espoused, to be “contemplatives in the midst of the world.” Then, we will truly be children of God.

2Shares