You are indeed Holy, O Lord and all you have created rightly gives you praise.…You give life to all things and make them holy. Eucharistic Prayer III
To be holy means ‘to be set apart.’ A common example is the chalice used for the Holy Eucharist. It is sanctified (made holy) for use in the Eucharist. Being set apart for holy mysteries, it cannot be used for a common cup at a dinner party.
There is actually a biblical example of this. In the Book of Daniel, King Belchazzar takes the holy chalices and pattens his father, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. He used them at a dinner party, during which a disembodied hand wrote on the wall that his would be destroyed. (See Daniel chapter 5.)
This prayer begins by stating that God is holy. He is set apart. He is different from everything else. There is no one like God. There is nothing in the universe like God. Too often we try to describe God with terms arising from human emotions or experience. God is not like us at all. He is holy.
But then, the prayer goes on to say that God gives life to all things and makes them holy. What does that mean. Everything in the universe, including us, have been created by and made alive by God for a specific purpose. By setting humanity apart for the specific purpose he has given to humanity, he makes us holy. But holiness is only realized when we live for that purpose for which God has made us. What is that purpose?
The 1891 Baltimore Catechism put it simply:
To know God
To love God
To serve God
To be happy with God forever.
Jesus would add to that “and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
That is God’s purpose for humanity, but God also has a specific purpose for you. He created you with certain gifts, talents, and inclinations so that you would have your own individual style in which you fulfill God’s general purpose for all humanity. The gifts, talents, and inclinations God gave you may direct you to be a businessperson, a teacher, a religious, a homemaker, an artisan, or an athlete. When you discover what God created you to do and do it with all your heart to the glory of God and for the benefit of mankind, you will find lasting fulfillment and true holiness.