Lin Weeks Wilder

Lin Weeks Wilder

Books, conversion, faith, Gospel, Martyr, Virtues

Thinking About Holiness: Its Simplicity

thinking about holiness: it's simplicity
Thinking about holiness: its simplicity

Thinking about holiness: its simplicity

Wednesday was All Saints Day and Thursday, All Souls Day. Each November 1st and 2nd, we celebrate our friends in Heaven and pray for those who wait in Purgatory as we begin this month of the dead.



Yeah, both if we ignore the reality–our bodies will die. But not our souls.

Our souls–even if we don’t believe we have one– will face the judgement of our Creator.

How well did we use the gifts we were given?

The grace?

Did we listen to our conscience?

How well did we love?

You do not have to be learned or extraordinarily talented to become holy. All you need is the grace of God and your own determination. Yet the reason so few people become saints is because it is easier to become learned than to change one’s whole life in order to become holy.

The Road of Hope-The Gospel from Prison


I can make holiness far too complex. Especially when thinking about my friends in heaven; I forget they also had just twenty-four hours in their days. Or that much of their lives consisted of dirty dishes, sweeping the floor and pushing themselves to pray when they’d rather sleep. Hence I can get down on myself because I’m not accomplishing great things.

Heroic sacrifice.

Saving the world as was my ambition at nineteen.

And then Venerable Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan showed up. {Astounding how that happens, isn’t it?} His Magnificat meditation, Already Planted in the Kingdom of God, exhorts the simplicity of holiness. “I see clearly that every saint has his or her particular ‘style,’ no one of them resembles another. Yet a common way exists that everyone, without exception, must undertake. I must resemble the Lord Jesus…Thus, my specific role will assume its proper splendor, modestly but with the greatest audacity!”

Cardinal Van Thuan spent thirteen years in a Communist Vietnamese prison, nine in solitary confinement. That phrase warrants a repeat: nine years in solitary confinement. During those years, he secretly celebrated the Mass daily with a drop of wine in the palm of his hand. And wrote the maxims on duty, prayer, the supernatural life that would constitute The Road of Hope: A Gospel from Prison.

In September 2007, the cause for Cardinal Van Thuan’s Beatification was opened in Rome. As a prisoner he underwent the most brutal torture and dehumanization, but Van Thuan always strove to love the very prison guards who abused him. Some of the guards were so moved by his example they later converted to Christianity. Van Thuan would later write,

“…only Christian love can change hearts, not weapons and not threats…it is love that prepares the way for the announcement of the gospel. Omnia Vincit Amor “Love conquerors everything.”

Making holiness complicated

serves a purpose. One that makes me squirm; especially when my frenetic, easily distracted mind makes it almost impossible to pray. When that happens, instead of simply accepting my weakness, I can get down on myself, assuming that none of my committee—St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, St. Thomas More, St. Teresa Benedicta or St. Pope John Paul ll–had problems like mine. They were holy men and women. Not wrecked like me.

Whine, whine.

Then I read this from Cardinal Thuan in his Gospel From Prison: “In your soul are two persons, John and Judas. Whenever you are striving to persevere, you are following the loyal, faithful John. Whenever you cravenly give up the struggle, you are choosing Judas as your patron and you are burning incense, as it were, in honor of that patron of traitors.”

…”Cravenly give up the struggle…” gets our attention, doesn’t it?

The saints lived on earth as much as I do…swept along by the same current of time….they recognized that time had the value of eternity…We build holiness in the present moment not by turning to the past or anticipating the future….

Already Planted in the Kingdom of God
Post Tags :
death, heaven/hell, holiness, torture

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Lin Wilder

Lin Wilder has a doctorate in Public Health from the UT Houston with a background in cardiopulmonary physiology, medical ethics, and hospital administration. 

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