In one rendiconto session when I was in practical training, I recall sharing my struggle with my rector. In the daily resolutions I would write in my journal, I told him, I resolved to be compassionate, patient and an epitome of what a Salesian is before our aspirants and prenovices. But almost instantly when one of them tests these resolutions, I would fall flat on my face—almost instantly.
In concrete, I shared with him how confronting erring aspirants suck out my energy. And looking into my hapless situation, I was not just disappointed, I was utterly distraught.
His take on the situation was that in my resolve to trek the path of holiness, God might have wanted to show me the before—and after, the point of departure—from the point of arrival, the ugliness of that which I wish to leave—to highlight the beauty of where I wish to go.
In the context of our lesson on wholeness and holiness, I see myself as nothing else but a fragmented creation in search of, nay, desperately begging for wholeness.
Our discussion on Christian Holiness and my personal readings and reflection on Wholeness and Holiness brought me back to those confusing moments. And while I can proudly tell myself that that chapter of my life is already finished—at least for now—I am tad wiser to realize that I ought not to be complacent; that I ought to be prepared for the battle ahead; and that I am not yet done or better yet, God is not yet done with me.
For if there is one thing very much clear in me now, it is this: that holiness is a lifetime struggle and not a mere one-shot deal. And that one of the struggles I have to undertake is to courageously face my shadows—those facets of my personhood which I have attempted to put restraint—and integrate them into my being. This can only be done by fostering endeavors that promote self-knowledge and by allowing God to fashion me into the creation He envisioned me to become.
Wholeness then, for a creature like me, is that ultimate act of bowing before the Creator. This does not only show an expression of humility, that is, whatever He would like me to become, I will just let Him. But also, and more importantly, that sense of filial trust to the Father who wishes only that which is the best for me.
For sure, this is easier said than done. Hence, there has to be a daily cultivation of such an attitude. That effort to examine whether my will is in congruent with the divine will, whether there is a need to name and claim my shadow. For only with these that I be able to tame it, befriend it and integrate it with my defragmented self which is looking for wholeness, in search for integration.
My greatest discovery in this regard is that to attain sanctity, one has to be grounded first in one’s humanity. That quest for sainthood is ultimately nothing but a quest to embrace one’s personhood. That in order to be with the divine, one has to be at ease first with his being human.