Holiness and Virtues

This program begins with a discussion of holiness in general and the Cursillo virtues that lead to holiness.The concept of holiness may embarrass us, leave us lukewarm or fire us up. It all depends on our perception of holiness. A positive perception converts us to become seekers of holiness. An ambivalent perception produces half-hearted quests. What is our perception of holiness? Is it really positive?

Like a diamond, holiness is many-faceted. No one description will define holiness. Each description will catch one facet of holiness. However, taking all the descriptions together will give us a deep insight into this very rich concept. So, let us try to describe holiness in various ways, and even give a working definition.

Holiness is process, not a state of perfection. It is our process of striving to live the ideal vision, the Christian Vision. It is our process of becoming contemplatives in action by living the total Cursillo tripod. It is our process of stretching ourselves to embrace Christ’s entire Mystical Body with all its wounded humanity. It is our process of entering more deeply and identifying with Christ’s life, death and resurrection—the ultimate process that leads us to become other Christs. It is our process of fulfilling our own heart wishes to love and to be loved, to share our life experiences and to grow.

Holiness is logic. We might reason: A basic flaw exists in our human nature that alienates us from ourselves, God, others and creation. If we want to live a fully human life, we must admit our powerlessness, realize that there is a Higher Power Who can help us overcome our human condition, and decide to turn our lives over to the Spirit’s empowerment. Perfectly logical!

Holiness is wholeness. One way to look at the basic flaw in our human nature is that we have holes in our psychic lives. Holiness can be looked upon as striving for our own unique wholeness. We are all wounded. We all need healing. Paradoxically, striving for holiness is the process of becoming more fully human. Holiness is the pursuit of the meaning of life and the fullness of life.

Holiness is commitment. Once we discover the presence and empowerment of Christ’s Spirit in our lives, commitment takes place. We conclude that such a Higher Power is worth knowing better, worth being very close to. We commit to living the interior life, a personal relationship with Christ’s Spirit.

Now here is a working definition of holiness that we can apply to our spiritual lives: holiness is the process of acquiring the virtues that we experienced deeply on our Weekend, through human effort and Spirit-empowerment. Those Cursillo virtues are God-centeredness, openness to community empowerment, dependence on the Spirit, compassion, courage to act and to lead, faith and discipline.

Two points about this definition. First, human effort is necessary. It demonstrates that we have the right intentions and prepares us to receive the Spirit’s empowerment. We have to exert human effort while we are mindful of our powerlessness—a tricky balancing act. Second, think of Cursillo’s seven virtues as spiritual muscles that we need to develop with spiritual exercises to live our Cursillo spirituality, to grow in holiness.