Monday, July 31, 2006

What's a Saint Look Like, Really? This week's Mission Moment comes from Leon Bloy, a French intellectual from the nineteenth century. He said "There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." Wow. A tragedy... not to be a saint? I mean, wouldn't it be more realistic to say, what a shame, or a pity, or wouldn't it have been "nice" if, in the end, people thought I was saintly? Tragedy sounds a little too... dramatic, right? We are surrounded by what many call tragedies these days; they are accidents that take young lives, crimes that take away our sense of safety, tsunamis, earthquakes, genocide. This thought, that in the end the only tragedy is not becoming a saint, this shifts our entire way of thinking, our entire view of the universe. It sets up a hierarchy whose peak reaches beyond our earthly lives and into eternity itself, reminding us that in the end, there is something more tragic than the loss of home or property or even our very waking and breathing here below; the loss of Heaven. St. Stanislaus Kostka once said "I am destined for greater things. I want eternity." This is what Mousiuer Bloy is pointing us to. The loss of that robe of glory that we are called to be wrapped in; the danger that exists here and now is that we should ever trade it in for a cheap set of rags, this is what amounts to our deepest loss. Pope John Paul II said we should not be afraid to become the saints of the new millennium. Now the next question is, what do we envision when we hear this word "saint?" Is it a stoic, cookie-cutter marble statue with hands clenched in prayer? Is it a person who is always "nice" and never has a beer or laughes out loud or watches goofy movies? Is it someone who is really uptight about keeping all of the rules? Or is a saint a person from whom a mysterious joy radiates like a summer sun in Avalon? Is the saint the one person you know who always leaves you feeling better, deeper, refreshed in the soul? Who draws others in, and cares to listen and learn about you because you are you and you are speaking to them? Is the saint a person who is so enraptured by the Mystery of God that it makes you blush? Are saints the crazy ones who believe life is pregnant with God's life and that the victory of Truth is certain. If this is a glimmer of what sanctity really is, and it is, then it is indeed tragic not to join their company! So let's open wide to the mystery. What have we got to lose?
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