by Alexander Oliveros
Holiness. It’s a virtue many of us strive to have. It’s a distinction that elevates many people we as Catholics may look up to, such as Mary, Pope Francis, and our very own St. Vincent de Paul. But what exactly does it mean to be holy? Is it the characteristics of a person that make them that way? Is it their actions that make them holy? Can only a few people like the clergy or saints be given the title of “Holiness?”
To answer this question, we must first ask a question that seems unrelated. Have you ever heard the Tragedy of Darth Plageuis the Wise? If you haven’t, then that’s ok. It’s not a story the Jedi would tell you. For context, Darth Plageuis is a character from Star Wars, but he is only mentioned once in any of the films (he doesn’t even make an appearance). I could go into the lore of Star Wars, but that’s going to bore some of you. Basically, Darth Plageuis was a Sith (Star Wars bad guy) who was so powerful that he could influence the Force to create life. So basically, he could save those he loved from dying. His goal in life was to find a way to have eternal life. However, before he could ever do this, he was killed by his apprentice in his sleep.
So what does a Star Wars character have to do with holiness? Well, Darth Plageuis worked his entire life towards this goal of eternal life but never achieved that. He was missing two things: logic (cause everyone knows nobody can live forever) and God. Plageuis never tried following God’s will but had his own interests in mind. We each have a special calling from God to live out His ministry, whatever that may be. Whether you bring Jesus to the theater, bring Christian values to the business world, or become a part of the religious life you are fulfilling God’s will. One could argue it is your destiny. God’s will for us is to make us happy, and if we put other plans before God’s things can get pretty rough. This is hard to do because often we don’t even know what God plans for us.
So, I guess to answer the question “what does it mean to be holy,” it means that we align our goals and actions with God’s will actively and live our lives around that. Darth Plageuis had goals that benefited himself: live forever and rule the galaxy. But this was never with the intent to help others or fulfill God’s will. Often, similarly to the Sith master, we sometimes put our own wants and needs before God’s. For example, to get a little personal here, there was this one girl back at high school that I had a crush on. I figured God wants me to be happy, right? So, it’s obviously God’s will for me to be with her. I was so wrong. I asked her out, and I was denied. I didn’t realize it then, but God was saving me from a situation that could’ve ended badly. I later found out she was pretty weird, and with college close by it probably wouldn’t have worked out.
In the end, it’s all about seeing what God sees for us, as hard as that maybe with all the noise in life. If we do that, then we can accomplish what Darth Plageuis failed at: achieve eternal life with Christ. In fact, that’s the real Tragedy of Darth Plageuis, he never found his true calling in life. We are all called to holiness, and we can all be holy. In fact, it’s the only thing God really wants from us: to become holy and be with him forever. To pick up his cross and follow him.