Being holy might seem easy only if we think it means saying the right words or acting in a pious manner. Actually, holiness means being Christ-like, God-like. It also means taking Jesus at his world when he said we are to be lights to the world, and to flavor and preserve it with goodness.

And holiness involves not just the big things, but everyday things as well. For instance, we might like to be more tolerant and forgiving, but if someone cuts us off in traffic, forgiveness and tolerance go out the window. Or we’d like to resemble Christ in being open to others, but if we’re talking to someone we disagree with, we may quickly start thinking of how to prove they are wrong and we are right. That means we aren’t really paying attention to what they are saying.

Yes, sometimes the light that we are supposed to let shine can get pretty dim and the zest we are meant to add to life can get pretty flat. Growing in holiness is always a work in progress, and we have to rely on God’s help to become the kind of people he and we want us to be.

—Fr. Frank Majka, S.J., a Wisconsin Jesuit, is engaged in pastoral ministry at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.