A metal chain breaking due to overheating

Holiness by Osmosis

I must have heard a thousand times when I was young. “You can’t learn algebra by osmosis.”  “Don’t expect to put the book under your pillow at night an learn history by osmosis.” As much as I tried, it never worked. I was forced to ‘do the work’ and study. Some people think you can’t become holy through osmosis. They are wrong.

Thankfully, holiness is one thing we can achieve through osmosis. The Holy Scriptures and Holy Tradition are both filled with examples of holiness, and the work of God, being experienced through touch. Moses’ staff and the rod of Aaron are two examples from the Old Testament. The handkerchief and apron of Saint Paul are examples from the New Testament. There are countless stories of healings and grace coming from relics (remains from saints) within the tradition of the Church.

Today is the commemoration of the chains of Saint Peter. Naturally, events such as these are remembered with faith and joy throughout history. Even in modern times I have witnessed many pilgrims to churches ‘feel’ something when they enter the Church or holy site. A church just after construction ‘feels’ different than a church in which hundreds of Divine Liturgies have been served.

Inside every Orthodox Christian Church is the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The very walls of the Church are steeped in the holiness of God. When a Church is consecrated, it is anointed for one thing and one thing only. To be the presence of God in a particular location, and the place where His People come to communion with Him.

These are all examples of God’s holiness passing to us through osmosis. We may not be able to lean algebra, but we can become holy. It only requires a bit of faith on our part. If rods and handkerchiefs can become holy, so can we.

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1 Comment

  1. JoAnn Metropoulos on January 24, 2023 at 9:12 am

    Such a beauty example of holiness. Loved this comparison.

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