Holiness in a post-Kindle world

It’s the beginning of a new year and I felt it a good a time as any to begin blogging.  I wanted to focus on the theme holiness because it seems to be at the heart of all my obsessions.  I suppose that it’s a good thing, though I feel many might think it an outdated (or even a repressed) stance to have in front of life.  And I suppose being a lover of all good things might seem a bit contradictory to the pursuit of holiness–after all, being holy is being boring.  And boring is not a good worth pursuing.

I recently read a book by the Canadian author, Michael O’Brien, Father Elijah.  Having grown up in an apocalyptic sect I have always shied away from these types of books (the Left Behind series for example).  But since O’Brien is Roman Catholic, I thought I’d give him a try.  It also helped that a trusted friend not only recommended the book but sent it to my greatest Christmas present ever–my Kindle.   I won’t start to go on and on about the Kindle.  Suffice it to say that I’m grateful to my younger brother for giving me neither gold, frankincense, nor myrrh….

I read O’Brien’s book within a 24 hour period.  I’ve read a lot of page turners in my day (though this one was a page clicker) but it was good to have that feeling of just wanting to continue reading and reach the story’s climax.  I won’t spoil the end of Father Elijah for anyone that hasn’t decided to take it on, but I will say the end was satisfactory.  The friend that sent the book didn’t care for it but I think I was able to convince him that O’Brien’s ending was within the realm of possibility for an actual “biblical” apocalypse.

Lately, my father (who remains active in the apocalyptic sect of my upbringing) has been spending a lot of time trying to convince me that the end is truly near.  That God will again intervene in human history (though my father doesn’t put it quite that way because his sect is not incarnational in its belief and practice so the notion of God intervening in human history is purely supernatural).  When I finished O’Brien’s book I realized that Fr. Eljah, the book’s protagonist, was a man after my own heart.  He struggled with his past but lived firmly set in the present.  He was a man who sought holiness through the fire of existence and fulfilling his given tasks.

I’m going to end my blog for tonight.  I’ve decided that I’ll blog about things that I read and experiences I have that call to my mind the desire to be holy.  I don’t know if my definition of holiness is orthodox (I think it is) but I feel that holiness is simply being fully human.   Being the very best that I can be according to anOther’s plan.  And therein lies the struggle: giving over the will to anOther.

I’ve begun the Letters of Catherine Benincasa (the saint from Siena) and hope to blog about that page clicking experience in the next few days.

By reflectionsoncarnality

2 comments on “Holiness in a post-Kindle world

  1. It has been over 10 year since I have read Fr. Elijah and I don’t actually remember how it ends. However, my favorite O’Brien novel is probably Strangers and Sojourners. The characters in that novel were very real to me and holy in the sense that you described…playing their role in the world by doing what they were supposed to be doing character defects and all. Therein lies the challenge…to have faith that God is bringing good out of what I am doing even when it appears to me that it is not getting done well and perhaps I might even be failing.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed Father Elijah. I think I am still recovering from the experience of reading about the protagonist’s trip to Poland. Very moving.

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