Paving The Road To Holiness

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

I live on a very busy highway, one that sees lots of traffic every day. And of course, over the years, the highway has slowly deteriorated, marked with ever-growing bumps and valleys, potholes and pockets, making the road nearly un-drivable at times, and very noisy too!
Thus I was thrilled when the State began repaving the road a few months ago. It was a major project, involving lots of planning and strategy, but kudos to the Department of Transportation for their excellent work! Because of the constant stream of traffic during the day, all of the work took place at night, under the glare of piercing artificial lights, but the project unfolded smoothly, with very little disruption of everyday life.
It was an interesting process to watch. First, the old, scarred and broken surface had to be removed, milled down to its base. Then one layer of new asphalt was laid, with temporary striping. And then, a couple weeks later, the second and final layer was put down, and the permanent lines were applied. But before long, voilà, there was a new road in front of my house, and peace and quiet was restored.
Now, of course, this article isn’t about the science of paving roads, but rather, to suggest that the repaving of the road is an apt analogy of the spiritual life. And the question is, how do we provide a safe and smooth road to heaven?
Well, first, we’ve got to remove all that’s old and broken in our lives, the potholes of our spiritual life. We need to strip ourselves of the temptations and bad habits, the vices and sins, that impede our spiritual journey. It takes a serious commitment, because some of these spiritual potholes are deep and wide. Penance and prayer are tools for renewal, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession, is indispensable too.
And then we have to repave our spiritual life by intentionally practicing goodness and kindness, by putting on virtue, by trying to be more like Jesus every day. Again, our daily prayer is the key to making progress. Studying the lives of the saints is very helpful, too, for they have shown us the way. And in our journey to holiness, nothing can replace the Holy Eucharist – the Eucharist celebrated, received and adored.
Our road to holiness is a long and winding road, and we know that potholes will pop up from time to time. But let’s never tire of trying to pave a safe and smooth road to Heaven.
Something to think about: What are the potholes of your spiritual life?