“Wow, I wish I was that holy.”
These exact words came out of my mouth three years ago when I was a little freshman just beginning to grow deeper in my faith in college. I saw the senior Catholic Gators at the University of Florida and thought to myself, “How do they know all these things about Catholicism?”
There I was, a cradle Catholic, but I had no idea half the things they were doing or saying.
Immediately, I deeply desired a relationship with God like they had. I wanted to know all the same prayers and songs, be able to say them in Latin, AND recite them all by heart – just like they did.
I really just wanted to be as holy as they were but I felt so far behind.
So when I was having a conversation with underclassmen the other day, and they told me they wished they were as holy as I was, you better believe I was completely shocked. Half my heart hurt at the thought that I made anyone feel discouraged in their faith and the other half hurt because God’s sense of humor was killing me.
Why? Because I’m not holier than anyone.
Aside from messing things up all the time and saying embarrassing things on a regular basis, I struggle in my spiritual life too.
I struggle to trust God. I struggle to see his love for me. I struggle to be patient with his timing. I struggle to surrender and give him my all. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not good enough. I compare myself to others. I even look for ways to prove my worth to God, which is ridiculous because he already gave me my worth when he died on the cross for me. I just struggle to accept it.
Just this week, I realized worldly things I thought I detached myself from three years ago still hold a place in my heart.
And on top of everything, I sin too. (I know, WHO DOES THAT?)
Although I go to daily Mass, wear a veil, lead retreats, stand in front of large crowds, or “major” in Catholic Gators by spending most of my time around the student center, it does not mean I am holier than anyone else. I am anything but.
I am just trying.
I am trying desperately to give my heart to God each and every day. I am praying to know, love and serve him. I am hoping to hear him though it is so hard to be silent. I am seeking his will for me even when I’m confused and frustrated most of the time.
I am striving for holiness just like everyone else is.
Did you read that? Just like everyone else is. That means everyone else must be pretty holy too. There’s a reason why we think others are always holier than we are.
For one, it’s easier to see holiness in others because we know our own sins and shortcomings. But we are also attracted to holiness because that is what we were created for.
Since God is perfectly holy and he created us to be one with him, we can’t just attain holiness for ourselves. We have to enter into it. By receiving God through the sacraments, spending time with Him in prayer, and serving Him by helping others, we are growing closer to Him. We are growing in holiness.
This doesn’t mean we have to do it perfectly. Lord knows I’ve had three, going on four, years of formation and I still struggle. We just have to give it all to Him and keep trying.
Now, I realize the seniors I looked up to were just trying all along. The saints only became saints because they kept trying.
I never had to compare myself with others or be discouraged in striving for holiness because no one has it all together. We’re all just trying.
So if you’re reading this, I pray you know we are on this journey together. Know that you are holy too and you only need to be you because that is all God desires. Don’t ever be discouraged in your journey. Just keep running to Him.
Written by: Tonia Borsellino