Another great insight from Moby Dick (this one from ch. 16, “The Ship”):
Captain Peleg asks Ishmael why he wants to go sailing. Ishmael’s answer is that he wants to see the world. Cap’n Peleg tells him to “take a peep over the weather bow.” What did Ishmael see over the weather bow?
“Not much,” I replied – “nothing but water; considerable horizon though, and there’s a squall coming up, I think.”
“Well, what dost thou think then of seeing the world? Do ye wish to go round Cape Horn to see any more of it, eh? Can’t ye see the world where you stand?”
I suppose the same could be said for holiness. During Lent don’t we all want to be holy? But what’s to see in being holy? The mystery – and the glory – of holiness (I suspect anyway) is not in the seeing, but in the doing, not in the end product, but the process. Could it be that holiness is “nothing but water and considerable horizon”? Could it be that the proper goal is not to be holy, but rather to be becoming holy? (If you will excuse a rather odd – and very improper – double verb construction.)
I ought not want to be holy, rather, I ought to desire the the doing, the thinking, and the being (which might ultimately lead to holiness) as things desirable in themselves, not as means to an end.
Or I might be completely off base on this thought. My source is Herman Melville, after all (who definitely ought not be confused with St Herman of Alaska!).