I recently read the book Be Holy: A Catholic’s Guide to the Spiritual Life by Father Thomas G. Morrow. It is a wonderful guide for any Catholic–no matter where you are in your spiritual journey–and it has jump started my relationship with God and my desire to be more like Him.
The book starts out by explaining what it means to be holy, why we should want to be holy, heaven, hell, and purgatory. Then it gives examples of what we can do in real life to become more holy. The chapter that especially caught my attention was on Spiritual Reading.
In the past few years, I have had to opportunity to participate in several bible studies, but other than hearing the Word at Mass, I’ve never been much of a bible reader. After reading Be Holy, I decided to start trying to read at least one chapter from the New Testament every day.
Just this afternoon, I read this in Hebrews, “They… acknowledged themselves to be aliens and strangers on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland” (Hebrews 11:13-14 NAB).
Really? Aliens? The first thing I think of when I hear the word “aliens” is this:
Am I an “alien” in this world?
What does it mean to belong to this world?
Those who are focused wholly on this world are ones that belong here. If I belonged to this world, I might spend most of my time thinking about:
- losing weight
- making money
- my favorite TV show
- my busy schedule
None of the above things are bad in the right context or in moderation – it’s only when they become the focus of our lives that we start being more of THIS world than of the next.
Aliens and strangers are those who don’t belong, those unfamiliar with their surroundings. You have to teach your kids about “strangers” to keep them safe. These words seem to have negative connotations in today’s world. Is being an alien always a bad thing? Let’s see.
The word “alien” actually comes from the Latin “alienus” – which means “belonging to another”.
Belonging to another.
Do I want to be a citizen of this world? Or do I belong to another? As for me, I’d much rather be a stranger or an alien here, and have my true home be heaven in union with Christ.
So, what can I do to belong to Christ?
I can put my faith into action. Be Holy separates the pursuit of holiness, or acting in faith, into three categories.
- The Life of Grace
This includes prayer, meditation, reading the bible, and receiving grace through the sacraments.
- Loving Our Neighbor
I am called by Christ Himself to love our neighbor as ourselves, and I can serve others spiritually and physically.
- The Life of Virtue
Living a life of virtue means that my life will be different than many of those around me. It’s one thing to say I’m going to live the faith, but am I actually doing it?
I am striving to follow the words of the apostle John, “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Are you an alien here in this world? What are some ways you strive to separate yourself from this world and focus on heaven?
Bryn writes about her journey of faith, her family, living simply, and recognizing God’s many blessings at Simply Fulfilled.