Oddly enough when I titled this blog post weeks ago and saved it in my drafts, my hubby told me that when we were dating, someone from his work used to say "So, you seeing the Holy Roller this weekend?" I guess that going to church on Sunday qualified me. Maybe this is because so few people actually go to church anymore. Well, ok, I suppose it also helped that I had a priest friend with whom I would occasionally share dinner.
But I do think it's a little weird that going to church qualifies one as a "Holy Roller." I mean this title of "holy roller" isn't something I aspired to, but I could be, and have been, called worse. I definitely don't see it as a bad thing to be, although most people quip this more as a dig than a compliment. A favorite quote by G.K. Chesterton I posted in my last Quick Takes Friday makes a lot of sense: "Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car." There are plenty of people who are in church, but who fail to let God in, fail to live true to the gospel and take Jesus out to the world (I can probably include myself in these categories at times). Being a church goer does not qualify one as holy and it doesn't necessarily make you a better Christian than others.
But it did get me to thinking: Why must we demean holiness? Isn't it something we should attain? Aren't we all called to holiness? I mean, truly, holiness is merely working to become fully the person God intended us to be. Working away at our defects and weaknesses. Trying to live an authentic life. Do people not want to be a work in progress? Are people truly satisfied with who they are and think there is nothing about themselves that they can improve?
I think what people don't want to be, is "holier-than-thou." I think there are people who may say this of me, that I am "holier-than-thou" and think I have all the answers. I do not. I know I do not. I am working to understand and parse through, piece by piece, the answers the Church has given us. She makes sense, in areas that most people cannot believe makes sense. I'm not sure how that makes me holier-than-thou. I'm trying to humbly point out how I came to be "in line" with the Catholic Church teachings. I think there is real wisdom in it. I refuse to take what society throws at us as absolute truth. Have you seen what they throw at us? I refuse the auto buy in.
However, I think what really turns people off from the idea of being holy is that they feel that then they could not enjoy life, they could not have any fun. I think they feel like they could not be free to be themselves. I feel more free to be myself and am more open and honest now that I have God and my faith back ,then I was when worldly freedom had it's grip on my life. I can look back at past negative experiences and not just dwell on them in misery. Instead I can say "Yes, I regret those choices but I can make better ones moving forward." I can have some stress in my life and choose to be hopeful in God's plan rather than make myself crazy trying to figure out how I can fix it. I can have fun just enjoying a glass of wine playing Candy Land with my husband, having a picnic with my girls after work at the park, or sitting reading a good and challenging book.
Being holy is working to be the best you can be in all aspects of your life - work or play, friendship or family ties. Who doesn't want that? Being holy means being true to yourself, to the you that God intended you to be; not to the you that everyone thinks you should be or even the you that you sometimes feel you want to be. We all have tendencies to want things that are not good for us or to do things our own way, myself included. If we were to ask ourselves "Will this help me be the person that God intended me to be? Will this help me to be the very best version of myself?" maybe we will start to make different choices. I know I still have PLENTY of areas that I can work on. So go ahead and call me a holy roller. I'll take it as a compliment. But I am humble enough to know that I am not there, yet I must acknowledge that God wants me to keep trying.