One, to which we now turn in our journey through Lumen Gentium (39), is holiness. The Church is called to be “holy.” So holy, in fact, that Christ gave Himself up for His Bride, the Church, so that she might be sanctified and made perfect.
“But wait,” you might say, “I know plenty of stories about the Church where not so holy stuff has happened. In fact, there is this pastor over at . . . well that’s a little off topic but you get what I mean.” That the Church is holy does not mean everyone claiming to be a part of her is holy or that it can institutionally not sin. The Church is made up of sinners and as such things happen. We are all at different spots on the journey.
But what are the fruits of those who follow her well? They end up in glass and wood and stone. Those who most conform themselves to her purifying will are called saints for they have striven to be more like their Creator. We call them saints.
A second means by which we judge something to be holy or of God is that they are also fruitful. Do they lead others to God? Look at a religious order that is taking off and sustains or grows in number. Something is happening there. There is a perfection in love. A sign of growing in actual holiness is that it desires and assists others to grow likewise whether privately or in a Church recognized fashion. It desires others to be holy.