Thinking of holy ground as spiritual places, in addition to the traditional physical places, opens us to a greater appreciation of the range of our life experiences.
The deep significance of holy ground is clear in the big biblical stories we learn from early on. In the Old Testament God gave humanity the Ten Commandments through Moses, christening Mt. Sinai one of the early holy grounds. In the New Testament, the Apostles walked on holy ground wherever they went as disciples of Christ, witnessing miracles. It was, and remains, the Holy Land.
The holy ground we walk on in our own lives is easier to discern in good times. The holiness of our churches echoes and supports the holiness of the Mass. Our churches are sanctuaries of holy ground, where we can feel immediately anchored in faith and invited to prayer and reflection.
Jesus walked with his people and created sacred ground because he was there with them physically. We have our own kind of holy ground as Jesus walks with us spiritually in a different reality. As we remind ourselves of this tremendous gift of Jesus accompanying us always, God’s holiness and closeness to us can feel remarkably abundant and concrete.
We are in a sense “set apart” from the distractions of our everyday lives. Moses was away by himself, set apart, when God’s revelation took place. At its heart, holiness enables us to come up for fresh air to another level of spiritual awareness. We can find here a way of being that makes us feel different—closer to God. At times like these, it’s not such a stretch to know we are spiritually walking on holy ground.
What about the more challenging moments of life, when God can seem distant and holiness is less obvious? Maybe it’s only in retrospect that the holy ground we walk on in adversity is clear; in the midst of difficulties, sometimes it takes every fiber of our being to not get frustrated with ourselves and with God. Looking back later from a calmer perspective enables us to appreciate the holy ground we were on, even if at the time we felt more alone.
God seeks us as He did Moses and the Apostles through Christ: where we happen to be at any given moment of our lives.
"Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."