Where Do Saints Come From?

21 Oct

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.


Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Ted Campbell


4 responses to “Where Do Saints Come From?

  1. Rev. Carol Crawford Rowe

    October 21, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I know that you do not remember me, but I enjoyed your Church History class at WTS in the late 1990’s. I am now retired, living at a KOA camp called Lion Country Safari Campground, in South Florida, and writing a blog on WordPress called saints on safari. I would love to post your blog about saints, with your permission. Carol Crawford Rowe

    • Ted Campbell

      October 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      Good to hear from you, Carol. Fine with me! Re-blog away! /ted

  2. tim

    October 24, 2011 at 4:49 am

    A great reminder Prof. Ted!

    Have you ever heard of St. Mary of Egypt?

  3. mehboobalam

    October 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I agree with you because only God is holy and God is beyond a saint. Instead of an apostle, Saint Paul should have accepted himself as ‘saint’ then an ‘apostle’.It took his a lot of time and efforts to prove in his epistles that he is an ‘apostle’ then a ‘saint’ because I do not see a difference when in the eyes of God ‘saint’ is a great position for us sinners.


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