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How the Little Mermaid explained holiness to me

Little Mermaid

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Noah D. Huddleston - published on 09/12/23

The desire for fulfillment is good, and it is placed on our hearts by God. Therefore, we can be sure that this fulfillment is not only possible, but also attainable.

While riding in a car near San Sebastián de Garabandal in the north of Spain, a friend of mine inquired about how I personally would explain to teenagers the idea of the Universal Call to Holiness. Without thinking, I blurted out, “I would talk about The Little Mermaid.”

The connection between the Disney film The Little Mermaid and the call to holiness seems far-fetched at best; however, a grace I received in prayer no more than a week prior was still fresh in my mind.

While praying, I found myself distracted. I began singing, in my head, the lyrics to “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. Upon realizing that I was distracted, my first instinct was to chastise myself and attempt to refocus on the Lord. However, at the prompting of the Spirit, I ignored my instinct and instead paid more attention to the lyrics stuck in my head.

In the song, Ariel, a mermaid who is fascinated with humanity, boasts of her expansive collection of human artifacts that have fallen into the sea. Despite her material collection, Ariel laments the fact that her possessions do not ultimately satisfy her desires. “But who cares? No big deal. I want more …” What Ariel desperately wants is to go higher. She wants to be where the people are. In the depths of her heart, she knows that happiness lies in going higher. 

At this realization my frail and human heart felt a deep and abiding invitation from the Lord. He reminded me that, like Ariel, we are made for more. In a world saturated with material wealth, we have everything we could ever want, often at our fingertips. Money, social media, Netflix, YouTube, pornography, iPhones. While some of these things are not evil in themselves, if we pause to think about our fulfillment, we realize that they fall short of that goal.

The desire for fulfillment is good, and it is placed on our hearts by God. Therefore, we can be sure that this fulfillment is not only possible, but also attainable. Our fulfillment consists in a deep and abiding relationship with the Most Holy Trinity. Being wrapped up in the Divine Life provides us with lasting peace and joy.

Because we all have desires, we can be confident that they are fulfilled by our participation in Divine Life which was bought for us by the cross and received at our Baptism. Divine Life is the goal. Divine Life is holiness.


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

The Human Being Fully Alive
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