Love of God, friends and enemies are the hallmarks
by Sister Agnes Fischer
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the whole community and tell them: 'Be holy, for I the Lord your God is holy.'" We may think holiness is reserved for people whom we call saints. We may not associate holiness with ourselves because of the inner feeling in us, which says: “Who am I to be holy?” In fact, holiness entails a holistic care of our physical and spiritual beauty. Spiritual beauty is taking care of the depth of our being, the soul, the life within us.
St. Paul provides a reason for holiness: “Do you not know you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” Paul compares the human person with the temple because the temple is not just an ordinary structure, but also a beautiful and magnificent one. The temple is the house of God and equivalent to a basilica, cathedral or church. In other words, the Apostle Paul says the human person is that beautiful and magnificent temple in which God dwells.
The book of Leviticus further explains the real meaning of holiness: “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus says that the things which destroy inner beauty are resentment, anger, hatred, animosity and violence. He instructs us to love our enemies. As if this was not hard enough, Jesus adds: “Offer no resistance to one who is evil. If someone strikes you on your right cheek offer the other as well.”
A Chinese proverb says: “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”
We hear much about the beauty of holiness. Let’s think of holiness as beauty.