Genuine sanctity, and not just the many forms of apparent and fake holiness sadly proliferating in the world today, will always require heroism. And it need not be lived and achieved in some extraordinary situations. It can be attained even in the very ordinary things of our daily life, but pursued in utmost heroism in following God's will and ways.
In other words, it does not flaunt its performance and achievements. In fact, it likes to pass unnoticed. It's never showy, although something in it will always attract the attention of those who have faith. Of course, it may turn off those who are hostile to the faith.
This is the sanctity that comes from Christ who, in spite of the many wonderful miracles he made, tried his best not to show off because of them. Rather, he preferred that people get attracted to him when he would already be on the cross, as testified by his words: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (Jn 12,32)
Genuine sanctity can never sit well with complacency, laziness, self-satisfaction, the attitude that we can say enough in our self-giving and the like. It will always demand more and more from us, and we correspond to that demand with utmost freedom and love, never feeling pressured or coerced to do so.
It is something done, developed and lived gratuitously, reflecting the very gratuitousness of the love of God for us. The dedication and devotion involved in sanctity is freely given, with no strings attached, even if we know that God will richly reward such self-giving.
And in situations where there can be many legitimate options, the one pursuing genuine sanctity will choose the worst option, that is, the one that give the most disadvantage to him, again without seeking any earthly reward.
In that way, he gains more merit in the eyes of God since he would be approximating the example of Christ who chose, of all the options to redeem us, the one where he had to bear all our sins by offering his life on the cross.
This way of behaving echoes what Christ himself said: “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you...” (Mt 6,3-4)
In other words, we have to do things out of love for God only and for no other reason. We should avoid trying to fish for some human or worldly glory. The intention should be entirely pure, without any mixture of self-aggrandizement.
In fact, on the contrary, we will seek and choose what will keep us always humble, reflecting the example of Christ himself and that of St. Paul, who said:
“Whatever was an asset to me, I count as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have lost all things...” (Phil 3,7-8)
This is the heroism involved in the pursuit of genuine sanctity. We need to train ourselves to develop this spirit and attitude that should inspire our every thought, word and deed.
That is why we can never exaggerate the need to humble ourselves all the time, seeing to it that we have a firm grip on our egos whose most subtle form of pride is to project an image of sanctity that is not truly inspired by the love of God, but rather by one's self-love.
We have to be most wary of this very likely possibility!*
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