Last night my husband the scientist and I were in a fairly serious mood, and I asked him what he really wanted to do before he died. Not in a bucket list "I want to travel to X and learn to do X and ..." type of way, but what would he really regret not having done if he died tomorrow. I could only think of one thing myself (having children). His response?
"Being a good person."
"You are a good person!" I protested in shock. After all, I wouldn't have married him if he wasn't. Heck, I don't know that I'd even have been attracted to him if he wasn't.
"I'm a relatively good person," he corrected. "I'm in the 95th percentile. But I don't just want to be relatively good. I want to be good in absolute good terms."
I wanted to make love to him right then and there, but (a) we were in a restaurant and (b) I was still fertile, darn it!
This brought me back to thinking something that's been on my mind a lot lately: Is it enough to be a good person? I mean, anyone can be a "good" person. You don't have to be a Christian or any religion at all to recognize and do the right thing. I guess that has to do with the whole natural law thing.
I think I've concluded that we should not just be striving to be good people - we should be striving for holiness. Being holy takes being good to a whole 'nother level. And as Christians, shouldn't we really be seeking that higher, holy level?
This is not to say that I am at all holy. I'm not. And I could never be, on my own. But it is definitely something to strive for. And it seems to me that's one of the big reasons we have saints - to have examples of people who were so committed to this goal that they were actually able to achieve holiness, by the grace of God, no matter how bad they were in the past. To show that it is obtainable and not just some pie in the sky ideal.
So how can I be holy in everyday life? I'm not sure yet - this is something I've just been musing on and haven't completely figured out. I know that frequent participation in the sacraments is important, but I think it has to be more than that. Maybe I need to read about St. Therese and her "little ways." What do you think? Do you have any suggestions?