The search for holiness, our final trait and nearly the ultimate reach in
spiritual excellence, “begins in effort,” Ramchal remarks “and it ends in
recompense; it begins in striving, and ends in being given as a gift”.
“That’s to say,” Ramchal himself explains, “it begins in your sanctifying
yourself, and ends in your being sanctified (by G-d)”.
The thrust of this loaded statement is that what’s allowed us mere mortals
in this world is the right to decide to sanctify ourselves and some of the
ability to achieve it, but the actual capacity to become truly holy is out
of our hands and must be granted us by G-d should He see fit to. After all,
holiness isn’t only a talent and inner-driven goal: being beyond the course
of human nature it needs to be granted miraculously.
(It’s roughly analogous to the situation of someone born with the ability to
be a master musician, who could follow through on that goal nobly and
earnestly for many, many years, and still not fulfill his role if G-d
directs circumstances against him.)
But what are you to do if you’re already pious and want to expand your being
towards holiness? “What all of your efforts should be directed towards,”
Ramchal replies, is to “utterly separating and removing yourself from all
physicality, and to constantly attaching your being unto G-d” -- no small
In fact, “even when you’re embroiled in matters of the world for the sake of
the well-being of your body, let your soul not be moved from its state of
great attachment (to G-d)”. May G-d grant us even the willingness to make
the effort to achieve this!