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Does God want us to want to be holy?


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#1 Jake A.

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 08:59 AM

Does God want us to desire to be/try to be holy?


Does this desire somehow contradict the factor of humility?

Elder Paisios of Mount Athos says "My brother, don't ask for anything in prayer except for repentance. Repentance will bring you humility, humility will bring you the grace of God, and God will uphold you in His grace and will give you whatever you need for your own salvation as well as whatever is needed, should the case arise, for you to help another soul in need."

Of course any rational Christian would never ask God to be holy in his/her prayers, but indeed pray for repetance, but does the inner desire to be holy somehow contradict humility?

It would seem to me that

1. All people who are worthy of being venerated as Saints had to have some kind of inner determination of being right in the eyes of the Lord.

2. All people who are worthy of being venerated as Saints, had to have in their prayers reach an excessive level of humility.

Would that inner determination contradict humility? Or does determination usually seem to express itself in different ways for different people, as in the fear of God, and other acts in the spiritual life?

Sorry, this question probably doesn't make sense...I'm confused as to what I was trying to say.

#2 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 11:44 AM

Dear J.K. Amra,

I'm quite sure your question makes sense.

We can be sure that God wants us to be holy, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'" We can also bring to mind the woman who was about to be stoned under the law as understood by others. Christ asked her, "Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Yet in this, she would struggle as all men and women do.

Some say Saint Augustine was a rational Christian. "“Lord make me pure, but not yet." Another translation is: "Lord make me holy, but not today."

Human thought, and our will or desires can cause confusion and tension. Having our minds still is very difficult and especially with so much that happens in every day life. Even if one could be still and undistracted, a much greater way is offered.

Always and nevertheless, the Orthodox Church teaches us that perfect is the way of the chalice.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 12:08 PM

What does "holy" mean? I am given to understand it means "that which is dedicated to God's use" or "that which is set apart for God".

Our priest often begins his sermon with "Brothers and sisters in Christ, called to be saints..." We are called to be holy, to be dedicated for God's service. But looking honestly at how far we are from being perfect vessels of God's glory ought to be enough to bring us to humility. We know that on our own, we cannot get there from here. It is only through God's grace that we can even begin the journey.

That journey is like going to a mountain. When we first see the mountain, peeking over the horizon, we think it is close and not so big. But even as we go father and farther, the mountain still seems far away, but merely looms higher on the horizon. Once we actually start getting close to it, we become dismayed at how high it really is, and after all this time we haven't even begun to climb! As we get closer to God, we begin to realize how really much "bigger" He actually is compared to what we thought, and we grow in awareness how far from Him and from perfection we really are. That too, ought to have a humbling effect. If it doesn't then we are doing something very, very wrong.

or so it seems to this bear of little brain.
Herman the Pooh

#4 Nina

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 08:08 PM

From the lives and works of Saints we see that they do not set on purpose to be holy. Being holy is a natural state (whenever that may start) because sin is unatural but theosis is the natural state that we were meant to have; and a holy person reaches theosis because he/she loves God so much and through this love he is transformed. From what we read their lives are holy naturally.

#5 Jake A.

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 08:56 PM

"From the lives and works of Saints we see that they do not set on purpose to be holy. Being holy is a natural state (whenever that may start) because sin is unatural but theosis is the natural state that we were meant to have; and a holy person reaches theosis because he/she loves God so much and through this love he is transformed."


Thats right, I forgot about theosis, silly me.

"That journey is like going to a mountain. When we first see the mountain, peeking over the horizon, we think it is close and not so big. But even as we go father and farther, the mountain still seems far away, but merely looms higher on the horizon."


Yes I agree, its a lifetime journey.

"We can be sure that God wants us to be holy, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'" We can also bring to mind the woman who was about to be stoned under the law as understood by others. Christ asked her, "Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Yet in this, she would struggle as all men and women do.

Some say Saint Augustine was a rational Christian. "“Lord make me pure, but not yet." Another translation is: "Lord make me holy, but not today."

Human thought, and our will or desires can cause confusion and tension. Having our minds still is very difficult and especially with so much that happens in every day life. Even if one could be still and undistracted, a much greater way is offered."


Yes, I believe Saint Augistine was a rational Christian, and thats a very good quote, I guess I somehow confused the desire to be holy with pride, but that is not so.

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 24 September 2009 - 11:03 PM.
fixed quotes


#6 Mario Shammas

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 12:36 AM

We must want to b holy, i should be our ultimate goal. Please do not take Elder Paisos's words literally, don't misunderstand me, he is very right, but don't take it literally. Should we only pray for repentance only and not for the salvation of others, etc..? No, but we still have to concentrate a lot on repentance, so he is right. Now a saint once said "God became man, so that man may become god." literally? Again no. This means that Jesus became incarnate and a human being like us so that we can become as holy as he is. Now here comes humility, we should want to become saints, but not for our glory, I should rather say we should want to live like saints and be as virtuous as they were, but our ultimate goal is Christ of course. We should not want to be recognized as saints because that is for our own glory, we should be humble.

#7 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 10 November 2010 - 03:04 PM

Humility in Christ is holiness par excellence. Far from contradicting each other, true desire for humility and repentance is desire for holiness. The problem comes along because we have a false notion of what being holy means. We tend to think of exalted spiritual states, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and so forth. For some, these things are the result of holiness, but they are never holiness itself. They are not the things that we desire when we truly desire holiness, but rather the effect (through grace) of the attainment (through grace) of humility.

Jeremy




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