Listening to Pope Francis and his way of boiling down philosophical and theological teachings to simple pithy statements (and often to no words at all) has helped me to better understand what it means to be holy in this life.
While on earth, there will be no endpoint to our path toward sanctity. No matter how hard we try, we will never quite get there. Holiness is in the journey.
Thank God for confession.
It’s easy to get discouraged when we see the patterns of our faults and the actions they lead to, as we admit the same sin over and over to our confessor. It is so hard to accept that we will inevitably fall again, very soon (the “holiest” people on earth sin about seven times a day, they say…) and have to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and return to that blessed encounter of reconciliation with God.
The only unforgiveable sin — the sin against the Holy Spirit — is Despair. Giving up. The washing of the hands of Pilate.
We must never give up, never stop getting up, like Jesus on the road to Calvary. As he fell again and again under the weight of his cross, the effort to lift it off the ground was the example he left us of the perseverance that is necessary in life.
It is also important to remember, as we make our own journey, that no one’s journey is the same as ours. And no one who keeps trying is lost.
I know that for me, it helped to learn (while in spiritual direction) that my struggle is pleasing to God.
And in Heaven, we will all finally be perfect.