A gorgeous white flower coated in dew

Hello there Rosary lovers! In this post we will ask: what is being holy?

Holiness: the Meaning of Life

Holiness is the point of life. It is the reason we were all created. We were all created to be holy, in union with the true worship of God in the holy Catholic Mass.

It has been said: ‘If you fail to become a saint, you have failed at life.’ That might sound like an extreme statement, but in a sense it is true.

We are NOT here to just go to hell, or to make it to purgatory. That is NOT what God desires for us. He desires us to ‘be blameless and holy before him in love’ (Ephesians 1:4-5).

God wants us to be sanctified in body, soul and spirit, ready to stand before him blameless on that final day (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Nothing less than this is God’s will for each person he has made. ‘Without holiness, NO-ONE will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). And our Saviour taught: ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for THEY shall see God.’ (Matthew 5:8).

So purity of heart and blamelessness in our lives is the call of each human being. And we cannot expect to get to heaven without these divine qualities.

God has given the world more than enough graces for every human being to perfect their lives in Christ. If we fail to make use of what God has provided to bring this about in our own lives, then in a sense we have failed at life.

Holiness in Action

God has provided MANY, MANY examples of what it means to be holy. He has given us the Saints and their lives and works.

The Catholic Church is JAM-PACKED with holy people. True, we have a lot of chaff amongst the wheat, and a lot of bad fish amongst the good fish. We are the first to admit that there are lots of bad people in the Catholic Church, just as there are bad people everywhere.

But let it never, ever be forgotten that no matter how ugly the lives of some Catholics are, many Catholics live and have lived incredibly holy lives.

Think of St Mother Theresa. This was a woman who only died in 1997 and yet has already been canonised by the Pope, because she was so holy and her holiness was so universally regarded.

Mother Theresa had the gentleness to go out to the poor and those who had nothing, and gave them her whole life. She had the confidence in God to trust him wherever he was leading her, even if it was to the streets of Calcutta. She had the boldness to address the nations when she received her Nobel Peace Prize that they were unrighteously permitting the abortion of the unborn.

Or think of St Padre Pio, one of the most amazing saints the Church has ever known, and he only died in 1968. This was a man so filled with God and so full of the Holy Spirit that he could read people’s minds in the Confessional, he brought atheists and agnostics to Christ, and he performed the most unbelieveable miracles.

If there weren’t the outstanding number of testimonies and witnesses to the miracles of St Padre Pio (including medical records), no-one would ever believe they really happened. He is the only priest ever in the history of the Church who had the stigmata – the real wounds of Christ on his body – which he bore for 50 years.

Or what about St John Paul II, perhaps the greatest Pope ever? He helped stop Communism and even forgave the man who tried to shoot him to death.

There are so many examples that could be given, but these are just some recent examples. And the Catholic Church has people alive in her midst today who aren’t so dissimilar to these amazing saints.

In fact, God calls all of us to be like St Mother Theresa, St Padre Pio and St John Paul II.

We aren’t all called to go to the poor in a special way, but we are called to love. As St Mother Theresa herself said: ‘If you can’t feed 100 people, then just feed one.’

We aren’t all called to be Pope, but we are all called to love.

We aren’t all called to perform miracles, but we are all called to love.

Love is what holiness is, especially love for the poor. We can have all the faith in the world, and even move mountains with the power of God, but if we don’t have love, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13).

It’s the same with knowledge, even the knowledge of God. We can know lots and lots about theology, but without love and humility, our knowledge is of little use to us.

As Thomas A Kempis puts it in his masterpiece The Imitation of Christ, ‘What’s the use of being able to wax eloquent about the Trinity if you dishonour the Trinity by your pride?’

I am often greatly encouraged by one of my favourite saints, St Bernadette, to whom Mary revealed herself at Lourdes in the 19th century. St Bernadette is a beautiful, beautiful saint most of all because she was very simple, she didn’t understand much about theology, she wasn’t very good at catechism, and she didn’t even know it was Mary who was revealing herself to her. She simply knew Mary as the mysterious ‘The Lady’.

Why did God and Mary choose St Bernadette? Precisely because she was small, simple and ignorant. God has especially chosen such people to represent his glory to the world, and heaven is filled with such people.

Our Lord himself taught us: ‘Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 18:1-3).

St Therese of the Child Jesus knew this. Hailed as one of the greatest saints of modern times, St Therese is one of the four Doctors of the Catholic Church. Why? Because she developed a path to God that was built upon three things: child-like simplicity in approach to God, child-like trust in God, and child-like love for God.

How to be Holy

It really isn’t very complicated to be holy. Simplicity, silence and solitude are key routes to holiness. This is why all of the monastics and nuns all over the world are constantly striving to grow in simplicity, silence and solitude.

Thankfully, the Catholic Church provides us with many ways to become holy.

We have the Church’s prayers, which we can pray and which help us learn how to talk to God. These prayers bring grace into our lives.

The greatest of the Church’s prayers is the Mass, but we also have the Lord’s prayer and the Hail Mary. We have the Divine Office also, the Prayer Book of the Church.

The Rosary is also a very common prayer, and we recommend it highly on this site.

Just owning a set of Rosary beads, wearing them or having them in your pocket, holding them when you pray – this can do wonders. There is also the Brown Scapular and the Miraculous Medal.

The Virgin Mary is an extremely powerful way for us to become holy. By getting to know her, by appealing to her to pray for us, and by following her complete example of self-sacrifice for God she teaches us perfectly how to walk with Jesus closely.

Then we have the 7 Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Orders. The Sacraments help all Catholics to become holy, because the Sacraments IN AND OF THEMSELVES bring down the power and grace of God into our lives.

Then there’s the Church’s fasts, such as Lent, and the Friday fast from meat. Fasting helps us to become holy by learning self-control. Self-control is the essence of refusing sin and rejecting our own desires.

We have our local priest/s, who can offer us guidance and help whenever we need it. We call our priest/s: ‘Father’, and we mean it. They are ‘Father’ to us. They love us and pray for us and are willing to help in anyway they can. It is what they have given their lives to God for.

There are the teachings of the Catholic Church, which we are all expected to study and know. These teachings are the teachings of the Holy Spirit, and by learning and obeying them, we will become holy. This is because the Teaching of the Church IS the Path and Way of Holiness.

‘I believe in the holy Catholic Church.’ – Apostles Creed

Most of all, and in and through all of this, we have Jesus, our Saviour and the Lover of our souls. The Catholic Church exists for one reason, and that is to bring Jesus Christ and his divine life as fully as possible into the heart, soul and body of every living person.

Supremely, this is in the most holy and blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our Faith, because it is Jesus Christ. Christ is our Life and Christ lives in us. We are most especially united to him and at one with him in the Eucharist.

It is most of all through the Holy Eucharist that we can experience Jesus and participate in his very own divine holiness.

A Simple Path to Holiness

There are many paths to holiness within the Church, and none of us will follow exactly the same path. Some of us may attend Mass daily, others of us may pray the Rosary, and still others may find our place in the Church’s charitable actions.

Some of us receive the Eucharist everyday, others once a week, still others once a month or less. We are all different.

Some of us go to weekly Confession, others to monthly Confession, still others go to Confession once or twice a year. We are all different, and must work out through prayer and talking to God what best works for us.

We should all pray that God would work out his will in our lives as he sees fit. Holiness is a thing unique to each individual, and no two saints have ever been the same. Your path to holiness and heaven will be different to mine. I believe it was Vatican 2 that emphasised this truth.

I have written a post on a very simple way to be holy, and perhaps you might find it useful. It focuses on those things the Church recommends that are filled with great power, but which don’t take very long or even much effort.

I hope this post has helped you. God bless.

8 Replies to “What is Being Holy?”

  1. Always hear that being Holy means being clean, if you are not clean than you are not Holy. Its interesting phrase you referenced “If you fail to become a saint, you have failed at life”. With this statement got me wondering about the belief in this statement, as I have failed at becoming a saint and have failed at life. Like I mentioned before on another blog post of yours, I am going to attend mass with friends. Maybe its not to late in life to become a saint. 

    1. Well I wouldn’t be hard on yourself. Most of us have failed at life by failing to focus on becoming saints. The first step is simply to DESIRE and WILL to become a saint.

      If you simply WANT to become a saint, God will make sure you become one, even if it takes a long time. This is the teaching of the saints, I think St Thomas Aquinas said it.

      Great idea to start going to Mass. God bless you on your journey.

      And no, it’s NEVER, EVER too late to become a saint. EVER. The thief on the cross became a saint WHILST ON THE CROSS, dying next to the Saviour. How about that? That’s pretty late haha.

  2. I’ve never personally gone into confession, but I understand the benefits as striving to become Holy.

    I personally confess as part of my prayers, I always go to God first worshipping him and thanking Him, confessing my sins to Him, and asking Him to help change my heart.  Because I can’t do it without Him and I need His strength.  I would love to see an article about how to pray as a Catholic.  I’m curious of the differences between a non-denominational and Catholic.

    1. Hey there! Thank you for your thoughts, much appreciated.

      Confessing in prayer to God alone is excellent, and I would never want to discourage this at all. 

      Just sometimes, especially for really serious sins that trouble our consciences, we need significant extra help. That’s what Confession is there for.

      As for how to pray as a Catholic, I’ve got lots of such posts on this site. But you could start here if you wish.


      As for the differences between Catholics and Christians who aren’t Catholic, you might benefit from this:


      There’s also this recent one, which you might enjoy if you like theology and history:


      God bless you brother

  3. Hey there, fellow Rosary Lovers! I stumbled upon this article, “What is Being Holy?” and I thought, “Well, that’s a good question, innit?” I mean, we hear the word “holy” thrown around a lot, especially in religious contexts, but what exactly does it mean to be holy?

    So, I started reading this article, and it got me thinking about my own experiences with holiness. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a spiritual person, and I’ve always strived to live a good and just life. But what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean being a good person? Does it mean going to church every Sunday? Does it mean having a deep connection with a higher power?

    Well, according to this article, being holy is about imitating God’s love and justice. It’s about being kind, compassionate, and understanding. It’s about being a peacemaker and loving our neighbors as ourselves. And I have to say, I think that’s a pretty spot-on definition.

    But the question still remains: how do we actually become holy? I mean, it’s all well and good to say we should be kind and loving, but how do we actually put that into practice? The article suggests that prayer, reading the Bible, and participating in the sacraments can all help us grow in holiness. But I also think that it’s important to remember that holiness is a journey, not a destination. We’re never going to be perfectly holy, but the important thing is to keep trying and to keep growing.

    So, what do you think, Rosary Lovers? What does being holy mean to you? How have you experienced holiness in your own life? Let’s have a good old chat about it!

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