This pandemic brought mixed emotions to everyone. Some feel more fear, panic and hopelessness; others more time for solitude and be still; others hunger for food, for company of friends, for love of family or just longing for self-esteem after losing their daily routine of work. Yet others find time to be more creative to hone other skills. I see all these as choices as to where we wanted to put life in perspective.
For me as I went through some papers, I found my notes when Fr. Anthony Ho gave a very inspiring and practical tips. I am sharing this with you as reference for a better perspective. These notes are on how to achieve holiness given by Fr. Ho during the last PPPG meeting before the COVID -19 lock down. It’s helpful to write them down and let’s use these notes when our spiritual journey needs uplifting or when days seem all cloudy and confusing.
As I intently listened to him spoke, I now believe that holiness seems possible for us. Oftentimes I have self-doubt if this is attainable as I think that only the saints were privileged enough to have that special grace, to have the special calling, or especially chosen, hand-picked to do miracles in His name. But if I think deep enough and reflect on Jesus suffering, my and your holiness is what Jesus' only mission when He came and be with us here in earth. Jesus’ mission is for us to be holy so we can all join Him in the heavenly feast. No unholy is allowed in heaven (which is why we believe in purgatory) but we dread even the thoughts of eternal fire.
So here are the tips as Fr. Ho enumerate: In Father Ho’s own words: every baptized Christian has a call to grow in holiness, to grow in our interior life for the good of everyone, for the church and for all the souls. It is the universal call to holiness according to St. John Paul II.
As he enumerated there are 4 interior means to holiness: 1. Desire 2. Knowledge of God and self 3. Energy/ prayer 4. Means.
1. DESIRE means to align our desire in the destination, the desire to be with Jesus and that this desire must grow stronger everyday. Our desire must be strong and practical but don’t desire to be holy so others can praise us. The intensity of our desire for holiness should be stronger than the material things; stronger desire for the everlasting than temporal things.
Foster the desire for the destination, the desire for the fulfillment of what Jesus promised.. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in Me. In my Father's house , there are many dwelling places, if there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself so that where I am you also may be." John 14: 1-3.
2. KNOWLEDGE is our road map . Pay attention to the liturgy. Think about the words through the heart. I will borrow what St. Jerome once said, ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ. We cannot love the Person of Jesus unless we truly know Him and understand His works and deeds.
Fr. Ho said to read the gospel, read life and miracles of the saints and be inspired with their works. Let them be the model of our life. Catholics have a lot of saints. We can check the saints of the day. Or join faithfully with PPPG to know how Padre Pio did it.
To be continued.... part 2 -- next month August 2020.
A Spiritual Daughter of Padre Pio
PPPG Bloggers the faithful members of St. Mary's Padre Pio Prayer Group
list by titles
Blessings from PPPG