The Task of Holiness

A week and a half ago, I went to a young adult event. It was my favorite day of the year, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.I wasn’t feeling well and almost didn’t go, but I knew I’d have the chance to get to confession and I was overdue. I sat in the back of the Church and after the talk was over, I went to confession.

Every confession I have at St. Mary’s in New Haven is better than the first. What struck me on this day, was one line delivered after my penance and before absolution:

Remember, the task of your holiness is ultimately the Lord’s.

Wait, what? I thought I needed to strive for holiness, change my life and make myself holy? Although it seems like those are the questions that should have filled my mind, all I could think was, “what a relief!”. Holiness is what God wants of me, sure. He also wants to be in control. I always struggled with the idea that when I fell into sin, failed to overcome temptation, or even forgot to pray that I had somehow failed God. Hearing those words confirmed that I need to let go. I need to let go and allow God the room to set up shop in my heart, to create the holiness I desire.

I got back to my pew and took out my journal and ended up writing this prayer that I have continued to pray every day since:

Holy Spirit, increase within me all that is good and from the Father. Burn all that detracts from His task of holiness in the refining fire of love. Amen.

There are so many opportunities for holiness, so much room in our hearts for greatness. If only we handed over control and allowed our Father in Heaven to work that in our lives, He would make it happen.