Yes, I know, it should be “Whence Do Saints Come?” but hey it’s a blog.
I’ve been thinking about that company of people, in heaven and now on earth, who reflect the glory and the holiness of God. The words “holiness” and “saintliness,” “holy” and “saint,” mean the same thing. A saint is a person who reflects the holiness of God. The saints are the living testimony, the living evidence on earth, that the way of evil does not prevail. But where do saints come from?
Don’t believe all the hype you hear. You might not guess this from looking at the pictures with the harps and the halos—those were sent out by the Saint Marketing Department—but the truth is that saints are bad people and they often have bad breath and bad teeth to boot. Bad people! See, here’s how a saint prays about sexual temptation:
Da mihi castitatem et continentiam sed noli modo (St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions 8:7; in A. Solignac, ed., Les Confessions, 14:44).
My translation: “Give me chastity and self control, but, er, not right now.”
Give Augustine credit for honesty. Some of the saints were as bad as Augustine, and I don’t just mean that they started out as bad people and then ended up as goody-goody nice people. What I mean is that God made them saints in spite of their massive and persistent human flaws. God made them saints in spite of themselves. It’s a very reassuring thought. So are you bad enough to be a saint? God doesn’t make saints from anything but sinners.