Monday, July 4, 2011

Personal Holiness

From Marilynne Robinson's essay "Onward, Christian Liberals," included in The Best American Essays 2007:

I believe in the holiness of the human person and of humanity as a phenomenon. I believe our failings, which are very great and very grave -- after all, we have brought ourselves to the point of possible self-annihilation -- are a cosmic mystery, a Luciferian disaster, the fall of the brightest angel. That is to say, at best and at worst we are within the field of sacred meaning, holy. I believe holiness is a given of our being that, essentially, we cannot add to or diminish, whose character and reality are fully known only to God and are fully valued only by him. What I might call personal holiness is, in fact, openness to the perception of the holy in existence itself and above all, one another....To put the matter another way, we baffled creatures are immersed in an overwhelming truth. What is plainly before our eyes we know only in glimpses and through disciplined attention. Or again: to attempt obedience to God in any circumstance is to find experience opening on meaning, and meaning is holy. [Italics are mine]
 Marilynne Robinson is the author of the 2005 Pullitzer-Prize-winning novel Gilead.

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