Are fun and holiness compatible?

Fr. Michael Najim

When I speak to young people about my life as a priest, inevitably the question is posed: What do you do for fun? In other words, they want to know if I’m “normal.” So, my friends, if you are interested, here are some “normal” things that I enjoy:

• I’m a diehard New England Patriots fan (still not over that February 2008 game). I literally try to plan my schedule around their games.

• If I’m driving on the highway on a warm day, I love to roll my windows down, blast James Taylor or John Mayer, and sing at the top of my lungs.

• I look forward to watching 24 on Mondays with my friend Fr. Dave while we snack on pretzels and sip Dewar’s on the rocks.

• I think 18-holes of golf with friends on a sunny summer day, followed by dinner, is as close to a perfect day as it gets.

• I cherish Sunday afternoon dinners with my family, sitting around the kitchen table for hours, and laughing a lot.

• Some of the most enjoyable moments I’ve had over the last several years have been on cruise vacations with my family.

• An unrushed dinner with friends, with lots of laughter, is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening.

• I love to travel.

Are these holy moments? Are they compatible with living a holy life? I believe they are. Now, I’m not claiming to be holy; but I’m striving for holiness, and I just don’t see how the above-mentioned list is incompatible with a holy life.

For some, the image that comes to mind when they hear the word “holy” is a monk or a nun in deep contemplation, cut off from the world. And it’s true that many monks and nuns are living very holy lives; but most of us are not in convents or monasteries. We are in the world. So is it possible to live a holy life but to really enjoy our lives? To have fun?

The Lord created the world. Creation is good. So we ought to enjoy the goodness of creation: relationships, food, drink, leisure, travel, music, theater, etc. True, all of these things can be abused. People can drink too much. Music can be bad—even sacrilegious. Leisure can be abused to the point of avoiding work or life commitments—at which point it becomes laziness. However, taken in moderation, everything that I mentioned above is compatible with a holy life and is even the expression of a holy life. Holiness is more than just being in the chapel. (Although if we’re striving for holiness then it goes without saying that we need to spend time in daily prayer).

God wants us to enjoy our lives. Holiness doesn’t mean walking around with a sourpuss. In fact, the holiest people I know possess the most joyful and warm personalities. They are fun to be around. Being holy means being authentically human, being fully alive. The closer a person is to the Lord, the more fully alive will they be. Being holy means embracing what is authentically human. That is precisely what God did: He became man in the Person of Jesus Christ. If anything validates the goodness of creation it is the fact that God took on our human nature and lived among us!

Jesus cherished family and friendship. He dined in peoples’ homes. He went to weddings and drank wine. The Incarnate Word of God—the Way, the Truth, and the Life—loved life! And His saints did too:

• St. Philip Neri had a tremendous sense of humor.
• St. Josemaria Escriva enjoyed love songs
• Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati loved to hike with friends and enjoyed smoking a pipe.
• Pope John Paul II loved to ski

In our daily lives, while we are engaged in non-religious activities, it is still possible to live in God’s presence and to feel His presence. In fact, that’s a good way to gauge whether or not what we are doing is holy: With a clear conscience, can I thank the Lord for this moment (this music, this place, this sporting event)? Is this moment leading me closer to Him or farther away?

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, and if we’re living an authentic Christian life then we ought to be joyful. So don’t be a depressed Christian! Enjoy your life, and let other people see that you enjoy it! Everything that is good comes from the Lord. People will be drawn to Christ through you if you embrace what’s good in the world and the culture.

Topics: Culture , Faith , Family , Friendship

Father Michael Najim is a  Roman Catholic priest serving in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island.   Father Michael was ordained in 2001 and is currently serving as the Vocation Director for his Diocese as well as being a formator at the Seminary of Our Lady of Providence.  This post first appeared on his blog, Live Holiness, and is reprinted with his permission.

View all articles by Fr. Michael Najim

Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)



Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 


Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: