The Art of Sanctity

Archbishop Martinez says in his book, The Sanctifier, "is not sanctity the supreme art?"

Somewhere along the line of our spiritual lives, we fall into the trap of looking at holiness in a calculating manner--from a math or science perspective so to speak. We box check our prayer life, we set goals of progress, we "list" God to death. How does that become the pattern?

When we decided we were the masters of our spiritual life and could sanctify ourselves.

Yes, God wants our cooperation and our resolutions to serve Him better, but we are sanctified by Him. He is the artist, sanctity is the art, our souls are the canvas, grace is the paint, our will is the paintbrush that allows Him to create the image, but the "vision" does come from deep within our hearts. We have always have a choice.

Advent is about this choice. To prepare our hearts for the great feast of Christmas requires day-to-day conformity to Jesus. What does that look like? Practically speaking it is different for each soul, but spiritually speaking I find this quote of Archbishop Martinez to reflect what is needed for a deep, intimate union with God--what he calls an "espousal."

"How is this transformation to be accomplished? Everything in the soul must become divine; everything must be changed into the living image of Christ. The espoused must be similar to Christ in the heart. The Heart of Christ is love and sorrow. 

His Heart, like all that He is, is radiant and ruddy, according to the words of the bride in the Song of Songs, radiant because it is "a reflection of eternal light," ruddy because it is crimsoned with His most Precious Blood. 

The Heart of Christ is composed of love and of the sorrow which His two great and consuming passions have produced: namely, the glory of God and the salvation of souls. This ought to be the heart of the espoused soul."  (from Secrets of the Interior Life)

During this glorious liturgical season, may we have this disposition of heart that embraces joy and suffering in an intertwined manner like the Advent wreath, which reminds us that eternal life is approaching with every single passing moment. These moments are opportunities to practice the art of sanctity, making our hearts a peaceful dwelling place for the Infant to rest.