“For I, the Lord, am your God;
and you shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy….
You shall be holy, because I am holy.”
– Leviticus 11:44-45
Where do you see yourself—and God—in the picture above? Let your heart and imagination enter into the scene. May God who has raised up Christ bless us to be witnesses to the new creation in Christ.
Pray slowly and attentively this prayer for Part 1:
“O God of love, quiet me in your presence. Help me to be aware of your life-giving energy, your Holy Spirit living within me. The Holy Spirit connects me with you, with all creation, with all who are dear to me. Bless all with your love. I make this prayer through Jesus Christ who shows me how to love.”
Remember: you are holy because God is holy. Keep this in mind! How aware are you of your own spirituality? Your spirituality is who you really are in your deepest and truest self in relation to God, other people, and all of creation.
Another way of looking at your spirituality is to see it as wholeness, your wholeness. And amazingly enough, wholeness is holiness. Holiness is wholeness lived within God’s love.
In one passage (Matthew 5:58) Jesus links human holiness with God’s holiness: “You must be perfect [merciful, loving, holy] as your heavenly Father is perfect [merciful, loving, holy]”. This passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount doesn’t demand the impossible as it seems on first reading. How could you be as perfect as God? “Perfect” doesn’t mean the personality fault of perfectionism but rather it means being most fully the person God wants you to be. You are called by these words to be as fully yourself as God is fully God.
Holiness means wholeness. If you are as fully developed a human being as possible and live within the context of God’s love, you are truly yourself.
Elizabeth Johnson describes the holiness of ordinary persons in everyday life. Holiness does not mean only ethical holiness, but rather “it is a participation in the very life of God, thanks to the Spirit of God given in baptism.”
“All Christians in whatever state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity, and thus holiness is conducive to a more human way of living even in society here on earth.” (Constitution on the Church #40)
Take a few moments to experience in your heart how God loves you and is present to you right now. Ask yourself:
Psalm 84 describes how you can be at home with God. Make yourself comfortable and rest in God by reflecting on these words:
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (verses 1-3).
God’s dwelling place, God’s court, is where you are right now. God’s dwelling place is within you–and outside you.
Look again at the picture of the sunrise, which can remind you of Easter. All of creation, both Heaven and Earth, are God’s dwelling place. God is present EVERYWHERE. Reflect on God’s presence for a few moments, and thank God for all of life.
Now turn your attention closer to home. Look around the room you are in, look out the window, think about your family and friends, look forward to the activity you plan for a few minutes from now. How is God present to you in this place, these persons, your plans?
In the words of a simple hymn:
“We are one with the heart of each other.
We are one with the heart of love.
We are one with the heart of creation.
We are one with God.”
Review this part of this retreat, “God calls you to holiness.” This call is to come closer to the God who loves you and shares divine holiness with you. Your entering into God’s holiness is made possible by the GOD WHO LOVES YOU AND DELIGHTS IN YOU.
Now turn to the next part of this retreat. Part 2: Finding God in Creation.