“Open to me the Gates of Holiness: I will enter and give thanks.”
The holy is at once the point of departure and the destination of humanity. What is sacred is also gated, a reality protected against the chaos of the profane and merely secular. To enter into the Gates of Holiness is to find shelter from the dangerous voids that otherwise haunt our existence. Bereft of what is holy, life easily drifts into meaninglessness. Indeed, failure to respect that the human person is first of all spiritual and religious before he is biological and political is a catastrophic failure of secular society.
When we walk away from the Gates of Holiness and leave our hearts out in the cold, we lose the capacity to recognize the goodness of God and give thanks for the blessings that He lavishes on us. We live in a world ordered toward the holy and we have begun to discover just how dehumanizing it is when we go against this order. Biological health and political acceptance are things lower than human dignity, things meant to serve the greatness of our vocations. Yet whenever we place a lesser good above a higher one, the human spirit is lowered rather than raised up no matter how respectable the lesser good seems to be.
We are always diminished when we prioritize passing things over the unchanging love of God.
Those things were only meant to take us to the Gates, but they can only do so when we use them to seek God. When we seek them instead of God, we are locked out of the sacred, trapped in the profane. Bogged down in the mundane, we cannot lift up our hearts to the Lord, and we exist bereft of the truest and most just thing our frail humanity was meant to offer.
If we have done things that keep us locked outside the sacred, we also do not enter the Gates of Holiness because of things we have failed to do.
We suffer coldness of heart, the coldness outside the Gates of Holiness, to the extent that we have allowed ourselves to be bullied into believing that it is okay to abandon the sick and dying when they most need a word of hope. We succumb to the manipulation of meaningless secularity when we convince ourselves to forsake gathering together with the Risen Lord at Mass, even if we do so for fear of earthly death.
As creatures that are on their way through this world and not at home in it, we need sure reference points, signs that point the way, and standards under which we might rally to help each other move forward. Such are the Gates of Holiness and Jesus Christ has opened the Way out of unsatisfied frustration and into a new fruitfulness for humanity.
Without Him, even should we find these gates, we could not gain access or enter.
But with Him, even in the very face of death and the loss of everything we hold most dear, a portal opens and we stand on that firm ground in whose vast horizons alone we find courage before the Face of God and the confidence to give Him thanks.
This post was originally published on Beginning to Pray and is reprinted here with permission.