Many years ago, I was a member of a Baptist Church. On the wall at the front, behind the enormous pulpit, which dominated everything, was a wooden plaque. On it was written “Worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness.” I often read it with the feeling that I didn’t really know what it meant.

These last couple of weeks I have had to do a bit of digging for some catechesis I am leading. I needed to explain clearly and simple what sacrifice meant. In our catechists’ meeting, Fr Raglan had talked about sacrifice being something that made something else holy. The only problem then was explaining holiness! I ran to YOUCAT. The explanation for the call to holiness in there states this; “The purpose of life is to be united with God in love and to correspond entirely to God’s wishes. We should allow God “to live his life in us” (Mother Teresa.) That is what it means to be holy”

It carries on, “Only in holiness does a man find harmony between himself and his Creator. Holiness, however, is not some sort of self-made perfection; rather, it is union with the incarnate love that is Christ.”

Those moments when we are open enough to God, when we are aware of his presence that we find we are loved and can give a response of love in return, those are moments of holiness. Those times when we let go of our ego or our fear or our resistance enough to let God’s love flow through us, those are times when we experience the harmony of holiness. When we find ourselves ‘blow away’ by glimpsing who God is, then we glimpse holiness and it is beautiful.

So at mass on Sunday, when our opening hymn began “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” I finally knew what it meant.