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s£ Gf^d

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2010

http://www.archive.org/details/saintsindailychrOOguar

THE SAINTS IN

DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

A PROJECT OF DIMENSION BOOKS

THE SAINTS IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE BY

CHILTON BOOKS Publishers



ROMANO GUARDINI

A DIVISION OF THE CHILTON COMPANY PHILADELPHIA AND NEW YORK

Published by Dimension Books, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in association with Chilton Books and simultaneously in Toronto,

Canada by Ambassador Books,

Ltd.

Nihil Obstat

Imprimatur

P.M-D. Forestier

Paris, 5 Janvier 1965 J.

Hottot, V.G.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-17193

Copyright All rights reserved.

©

No

1966 by Dimension Books

part of this

book may be reproduced

in

any form without written permission from the publisher, except for brief passages included in a review appearing in a

paper or magazine.

news-

CONTENTS PUBLISHER'S NOTE

9

FORE WARD

15

WHAT

23

A

IS

FIRST

A SAINT

ANSWER

THE SAINTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL WAY

A NEW KIND OF SAINT THE SAINTS IN OUR WORLD SANCTITY AND THE LAITY

27 33 41

49 59 75

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL WAY: Our Permanent Corrective

THE WITNESS OF THE SAINTS

93

101

^YU^f

(

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

The following pages give us important observations by one of the most distinguished Catholic theologians on questions urgently debated

They

also shed light

in the recent

alive

Vatican Council.

on matters of somewhat wider scope:

questions with which the Council did not deal but which

have interested theologians and

spiritual writers as well as

the laity in general throughout the Christian world. Ever since

the appearance of

Romano

Guardini's

The Lord, we have

learned to look to him for brief, clear, non-technical explanation of religious questions that are close to us,

have practical meaning suggestions in this

terms of daily Catholic

work about

manded by our times the laity will prove

in

and which

"a

new

life.

kind of saint" de-

as well as his treatment of sanctity

most stimulating.

11

His

and

THE SAINTS IN DAILY CHRISTIAN

LIFE

Booksellers, librarians, writers, and specialists in religious publishing

have often complained quite

the phantom-like, saccharine perspective in lives are presented to the public. dini's

book

will

which

saints'

Perhaps Professor Guar-

have a beneficial influence

his sketch of the

bitterly of

in this respect too:

meaning and development

of sanctity inside

Christian history gives both realism and vigor to an area in

which both elements are unfortunately often Professor Guardini's book

ume time:

to

is

lacking.

the introductory vol-

one of the major Catholic publishing projects of our

The Encyclopedia

of Catholic Saints. This

an

all-

lives

and

every saint celebrated in the Catholic liturgy.

The

new, fully-updated library of information about the activities of

is

treatment will not be alphabetical as in a dictionary, but will follow the living worship of the Church with a day-by-day

and month-by-month treatment

more than one hundred devotion have

fifty

now made

in

twelve volumes. To the

collaborators

whose energy and

possible the international publica-

tion of this project, a special

word

of thanks is necessary.

Their work was inspired and guided by a distinguished panel of editors

and writers whose celebrated names gave much

greater meaning to the whole work: Francois Mauriac, Pere

12

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

Jean Danielou, Gustave Thibon, Daniel-Rops,

ding

Robert Morel, Michel Quoist, Joseph

Romano GuarDelteil,

Msgr.

Charles Journet, Ida Goerres, Pere Paul Doncoeur and Pere

Chenu. To these us through

many

latter,

whose courage and

difficulties that

insurmountable, thanks alone satisfaction in viewing a

might otherwise have been

is insufficient.

May

they find

work already praised throughout

world by historians and theologians brilliant

foresight brought

to be

among

the

the most

and challenging Catholic publications of our time.

FOREWARD JEAN BAPTISTE HENRI LACORDAIRE

A

saint

meeting of This

soul.

all

is

is

not simply the point of confluence, the

but ordinary sanctity, that which

the salvation of every Christian. There state of

God

union with

in

whom

is

call

such people pious men;

widely, call them saints; but this

necessary to

no Christian

more

we might is

is

in the

humility, chastity,

charity do not meet together in a degree

We

same

the Christian virtues in one and the

not what

and

or less perfect.

even, to speak

we understand

by that great expression -the saints! What then are the saints?

What

then

is

sanctity thus understood?

Sanctity

is

the love of

sublime extravagance.

If

God and

of

men

communion between

17

carried to a

the Infinite and

THE SAINTS IN DAILY CHRISTIAN the finite really exists;

and

if

the heart of

lives in the heart of

certain souls

man,

more ardent than

is

it

God

LIFE

creates a dwelling

impossible, at least in

the rest, that the presence of

an elernent so prodigious should not become

visible,

should

not produce extraordinary effects which the weakness of our nature and of our language would constrain us to vagant. For

what

the

is

meaning

of this

word?

It

call extra-

means

that

which goes beyond. There a love of

human

God and men which

understanding. But this

istic of sanctity; ity,

it

not the unique character-

is

extravagance alone would be only singular-

a part of his actions,

of vanity and a

of extravagance,

frequently defies ordinary

and singularity proves nothing

makes

tity

phenomenon

sanctity a

is in

little

of

in favor of the

if it is

not perhaps a great deal

bad education. Extravagance

should be corrected by another element, and

by the sublime

man who

-that is to say,

by moral beauty

it is

human

is

in sanctity

in fact

in its highest

degree; by that beauty which causes the rapture of sense. Thus, there

in sanc-

human

something which wounds

sense and something which enraptures

it;

something

which produces stupor and something which produces admiration.

18

FOREWARD

And

these two things are not separated there, like

two streams which flow the sublime, that

enraptures

make

it,

side

by

side.

which wounds human sense and

most active

which

it

which

vagant from that which

from that which

is

sublime

lifts

is

impossible

moment when

spirit of analysis, at the

sees the saint in action, to distinguish that

to earth

that

mingled and dissolved the one with the other,

of sanctity but one tissue, in

for the

But the extravagant and

which

is

it

extra-

— that which binds man

him up even

Defining sanctity in these terms,

to

God.

we would

naturally

expect the history of the saints to be a rare phenomenon, reserved to one time or to one country. But the truth exact opposite.

It is

a general

it is

the

and a constant phenomenon.

Wherever Catholic doctrine takes speak)

is

root,

even where

(so to

placed as a grain of seed between rocks, sanctity

appears and becomes manifest in some souls by fruits which defy the esteem and the scorn of reason. That sublime extra-

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

vagance dates from a yet higher and more unutterable

— the

folly described

a Cross, His head

folly

by Saint Paul of a God dying upon

crowned with

thorns, His feet

and His

hands pierced, His body bruised and mutilated. Since that time the contagion of holiness has never ceased to choose victims in the world

— victims

to

whom

belong the heritage

of the cross, the living tradition of voluntary

dignity of extravagance

martyrdom, the

and the glory of the sublime.

20

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

WHAT IS A SAINT

Most of

some

of the dates

on our calendar bear the name

great person in Christian history. That person

is

generally reputed to have had a certain distinctive character

— such as that of a dynamic apostle

like St. Paul or that of

holiness and poverty as in the case of St. Francis or that of

abandonment

to

Divine Providence as in the lives of great

mystics like John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. Almost everyone, believer or not, regards these persons as venerable, as

worthy of

respect.

THE SAINTS IN DAILY CHRISTIAN

are

still

we happen

But in addition,

if

more important;

for us

who

to

in legend

simply that

it

throughout

and poetry; or when we

their

We

rejoice

when

their

reflect quite

names which we ourselves bear

life.

But what

what kind

glory.

their faces in Christian art;

names occur

is

be believers, they

believe, they are a re-

minder as well as a promise of our future

when we come upon

LIFE

is it

that at root constitutes a Saint? Just

of people are these Saints?

26

A FIRST ANSWER

One needs

to familiarize oneself

a bit to find one obvious

were told

in the

with the saints just

and easy answer. The Jewish people

Old Testament of a commandment which

Jesus Christ Himself later called "the

and which He enjoined upon

all

first

and the greatest,"

His followers without excep-

tion:

"You

your God, with

all

your soul and with

all

shall love the Lord,

your heart and with

all

your strength." (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37)

Viewed to

whom God and

to

man

has given the strength to take this primal com-

mandment with ly,

in this perspective, a saint is simply a

utter seriousness, to understand

bend every

effort to carry

29

it

out.

it

profound-

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

The importance exaggerated



it

is

of this divine

command cannot be

something overarching

all

religious ex-

perience and activity; something, in the proper sense, awful. Just consider the reorientation of

life,

the purpose, the energy

and ambition which must possess the man who accepts All this in part serves to explain that reverential fear

we

believers feel

when we contemplate

it.

which

the lives of the

A FIRST ANSWER and also the mysterious attraction which

saints,

will continue to exercise

The

ward

to

upon us

Saints, then, are

to the

end of our days.

men and women who

among

all

But this It tells

go for-

meet God's command resolutely and completely,

without reservation. This description of a saint of them,

their lives

us very

peoples and in

is

valid for

all

times.

not an entirely satisfactory description.

about the modalities in which

little

God, or about the

all

is

way

in

which

men

love

a likeness to the saints

should be reflected in the Christian conscience today. Basically, of course, sanctity is

of charity, cient

and there

is

concerned with the development

no difference between a saint of an-

and modern times

But the manner in

in this regard.

which the unfolding of charity manifests of history

determine

— that if

we

is

different,

and

it

is

itself in the

that

course

which we must

are to grasp the relation of the saints to

current society.

31

THE SAINTS

IN

THE NEW TESTAMENT

was

Saint Paul

in its beginnings,

life

the great witness to the Christian

and his words

great watershed of truth about

concerns

us.

ation of the

But

if

we

meaning

always remain

will

a

any religious question that

inquire in his writings for an explan-

of sanctity, his ideas

seem

at first quite

strange. Read, for instance, his salutation at the opening of his

Second Epistle

to the Corinthians:

"Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of

God, and Timothy our brother, of

God

that

are in the

And

at the

is at

Corinth, with

all

to the

Church

the saints that

whole of Achaia ..."

end of the same Epistle we read:

"All the saints send

you greetings;"

the saints in this reference are the people of the country

which the Apostle

is

writing, Macedonia.

35

from

THE SAINTS IN DAILY CHRISTIAN

What could

Paul have meant by his use of the word

and

"saints" in these passages. Evidently referring to the Christians, and to

received the

LIFE

in

baptism

he was

of them; to those

all

Good News, who confessed

and who were reborn

plainly,

to a

who

the Christian faith

new

life.

Accordingly,

he intended something different by the word "saints" than

we

When we

ourselves do.

speak of

saints,

we

think of those

great individuals of Christianity

whose solemn

found

is

in

people

and

at

who

Saint Paul, speaking of

live out their lives at Corinth, at

Ephesus;

who

weaknesses

their

But here

our Churches.

believe,

who

figures are

who

hope,

in the spiritual order

Thessalonica

struggle against

and who from the

standpoint of religious history do not seem to be extra-

ordinary in any way.

What

then constituted for Paul the special char-

acter designated by the First of all

early days of the just to If

a

become

we

word

Saint?

should appreciate the fact that in the

Church

it

was something

quite remarkable

a Christian, just to try to live as a Christian.

man made up

his

mind

to

become

a Christian, he tore

himself loose from a whole skein of practices and habits and social

customs that identified his

36

life

up

to that point.

He

THE SAINTS became

IN

THE NEW TESTAMENT

a stranger even to his closest friends;

family did not join him in his conversion, he rejected

was frequently

Roman and Greek

antiquity, moreover, the

whole

was permeated with pagan customs. Language was

of life

with illusions to the gods, to myths; the manner of

differed entirely

Christian



it

life

from that which the Christian considered

a matter of obligation.

ties

his

if

by them, separated from them forever. In

filled

and

It

was

a painful thing to

become

involved misunderstanding, troubles,

a

difficul-

without number. Religious celebrations of the com-

munity, altogether brilliant in

many

cases and

become

a

matter of intense sentiment for the average citizen, were

forbidden to the convert. Since the ceremonies of the city

and the

state

were bound up with the national gods,

it

was

impossible for the Christian to participate in them. Either that, or else

he had

to

maintain a very

difficult

which required as much renunciation as

it

reserve

did wisdom. In

matters dealing with the State, which considered divine just as the it

was

Emperor viewed himself

— one

itself to

be

as a high priest,

inevitable that the Christian should get into trouble-

some predicaments. He thus found himself sharply with the public law and the local courts.

37

at

odds

THE SAINTS

IN

Whoever became

DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

course burdened with terrible

upon to

consequences.

which he had frequently

a life in

swim

undertook,

Christian

a

in a sea of renunciation,

a

entered

defy his friends,

to

and

He

then,

to look

forward

to

eventual imprisonment, persecution or even death. In this light

it

is

not hard to understand

why

Paul would refer to

the early Christians as saints.

But there point.

what

The people it

was

to

is

yet something else, and this

is

the

main

of early Christian times really understood

be a pagan. They

knew from

ience the limitations of paganism

— how

their

own

exper-

in spite of its great

culture and refinement, one remained a prisoner of the forces of nature;

how

despite the fantastic intellectual and artistic

achievements of paganism, distressed and lonely

myths and fables little

truth

was done and

of

offered

it

human

heart;

little

consolation to the

how, the beautiful poetic

paganism notwithstanding, relatively profound human aspiration for

to satisfy the

liberty.

In Christianity, people of ancient times encountered for the first time grandeur,

Good News. They experienced

profound meaning of matters

to

which we have become so

accustomed that we are almost blind

38

the

to

their greatness:

THE SAINTS "Christ's love

IN

THE NEW TESTAMENT

which surpasses

all

knowledge" (Eph.

the story of the hundredth sheep for

3:19),

which the Good Shep-

herd ceaselessly searches, the Bread which

is

given for the

And they were learning what it is to grow every day in the new life of the Kingdom of God. They were, quite simply, living a new kind of existence ruled by the God who was also their King and their Saint; the apostle thus had life

of the world.

the right to call

them

saints themselves.

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL

WAY

As time went on and

Christians

became more num-

erous, the quality and seriousness of their faith frequently

suffered diminution. In addition, there were

children

among

the

more and more

newly baptized; these children were

seldom aware of the immense scope of the act of baptism,

and consequently viewed as quite natural things themselves extraordinary



that

were

of

in fact supernatural.

After the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, Christianity that

it

was even more

became

seriously threatened by the fact

a state religion.

sidered a good citizen,

if

If

he wanted

a

man wanted

We

be con-

to obtain public

advance-

name and

in public

ment, he had to be a Christian, at least in

deportment.

to

can easily imagine to what extent Christian

43

THE SAINTS

life

as a

found

IN

DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

whole was thereby debased, became externalized,

its

main energies and intentions obscured. Under

these conditions,

was no longer

it

possible to speak of

all

Christians as Saints.

As

a result, a

new concept

of sanctity developed.

People began to consider the saint as a person the "great It

commandment" was

to

who

fulfilled

an extraordinary degree.

especially the Martyr, the person

who

gave

who was exalted in this setting. Men Ignatius, women like Perpetua or Agnes

his life for the faith,

such as Stephen or

were crowned with the glory of Christian heroism. Their death alone rendered them worthy of special homage.

There were other ways too of expressing what Lacordaire calls the "extravagance of sanctity," of revealing a per-

sonal and

unbounded love

of God.

One man would experience such of sin that he

was not

satisfied

amends. He would break utter solitude like of

Antony

off

a

profound horror

simply to repent, to make

with his entire society, go into

of the Desert

penance whose rigor even

makes us shudder.

44

after

and lead there

twenty centuries

a life still

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL

Another,

moved by

WAY

"the treasures of heaven" spok-

en of in the Gospel or by the riches of union with

embrace an ultimate poverty: did,

and

to

this is

God would

what Francis and Clare

such a degree that even the secular world

re-

counts after centuries their greatness. Still

mandment

more, gripped in their inner beings by the comconsecrated themselves to

to love their neighbors,

the service of the poor

and the

sick. Let

us simply recall

Elizabeth of Hungary washing the feet of lepers, or Vincent

de Paul and the Sisters of Charity. Others,

overwhelmed by the grandeur

vealed word, lived only to study truth to their brothers, like

Aquinas.

Anselm

it,

to

of the re-

break the bread of

of Canterbury or

Thomas

THE SAINTS IN DAILY CHRISTIAN Last but not least,

words

many heard

of Christ: "Go, therefore,

words with

to seal their

iface in

message

is

and vocations"

all

with apostolic

fire

sometimes even

to the world,

their blood: Patrick in Ireland, Bon-

Germany, Francis Xavier Such

in their hearts the

and make disciples of

nations" (Matt. 28:19), and were set on zeal to carry Christ's

LIFE

in the Far East.

the inexhaustible "proliferation of graces of

which Saint Paul spoke

in

the

early

Church.

The

lives of these saints are diverse, but

an extraordinary character. They come from society: kings

and peasants, knights and

men, young people, children even. But they in

common:

the

demands which

their hearts causes

human

them

the love of

always of

all

levels of

artisans, all

women,

have one thing

God makes upon

to transcend the ordinary

mass

of

beings and to accomplish something altogether ex-

ceptional.

This alone

new

make them witnesses

greatness which Christ alone has

tory.

They

into

forms of

made

of the eternally

possible in his-

refract, so to speak, the light of divine simplicity infinite variety.

They

46

are the models, they

show

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL

WAY

the aims and the paths of sanctity, they arouse the forces

which

will continue to

the outlines of

for centuries, their lives describe

which other Christians

details with imitation

Such

work

is

will simply

fill

in the

and accomplishment.

which has dominated

the idea of the Saint

the Christian conscience up to our times. This idea will doubtless

remain valid for

but because our daily in

whom

the

power

times

all life

it is

true

has need of heroes, of great figures

of divine grace

whose magnificence surpasses Dominic,

— not only because

Augustine

all

or

is

clearly manifested

that

is

and

earthly.

Ignatius,

King

Louis

of

France, Empress Cunegonda, the slave Notburga, The peasant

Nicolas of Flue will always remain resplendent witnesses to

what love can do when figures of Christian

boldness, in a

life

it

surpasses

heroism which

that

knows no

all is

bounds. They are the expressed

in a life of

holding-back, no reserve,

but only patience and dynamic action.

A NEW KIND OF SAINT

In our day the idea of a Saint appears to be under-

going a

new and

signficant transformation.

It

seems that the

notion of something exceptional or extravagant necessarily involved in the meaning of the

The evidence

way

to

approach

a

for this

view

is

is

word

no longer

saint.

muliform, but the best

complete understanding of

it

seems

to

be

through the writing of an 18th century spiritual writer, Jean Pierre de Caussade,

who wrote books

of simple

and vigorous

meditation intended primarily for religious, but one of

in-

terest to the laity too,

provided only they make the necessary

transpositions. In his

main work,

to

Divine Providence, a Christian

saint asks the question:

What kind

51

entitled

On Abandonment

who wishes of life

must

I

to

become

lead?

To

a

this

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

Caussade answers: "You must not make any particular plans, but do only what each hour, each minute demands of you. It is

God Himself

The road

in

to sanctity

of actions

His Providence

who

looks out for you.

does not follow a preconceived system

and exercises, but travels the very complicated

fabric of life itself. Progress in the spiritual life does not

consist so

much

in

achievement, in actual accomplishment,

as in a greater and greater purity of love with at

each

moment what

which you do

the situation demands. Note that you

A NEW KIND OF SAINT must do what

it

really

demands; not what

selfish

motives

might desire, what personal preference or convenience or

advantage or pleasure might dictate.

which speaks with the voice

of

the situation itself

It is

God and which

says 'This

is

necessary, you must help this person, you must do this work,

you must show patience under strictly,

no

this trial

.

.

.'

"

To do

all this,

without excuses and without reservations, and with

effort to reap

anything by

way

of personal desire or to

lessen or falsify things for the sake of escape

Caussade, leads to sanctity.



that,

says

THE SAINTS The same book

How

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

of

Caussade deals with the question:

does one go about loving God? He comments

common

outset on the slightest

God, or

experience of

all

glimmer of religious experience: to think

one does

so,

at the

who have had it is

easy to love

when God's presence

to us is

something emotional or sentimental. Love under these

cumstances

is

Most

cir-

a very natural thing, penetrating the depths of

the soul. But this people.

the

is

not generally the case with religious

of the time our hearts are at one extreme or the

other: quiet or else in rebellion. Daily life with its anxieties

and bustle smothers everything, or

What then in the

is

present moment, because

formed, in a This

He

love? Precisely this: "to do

And

the will of God.

fills

strength

do

to

spirit of purity

is

the love of

must be with

said

else

— but who

all

it is it

any action?

If

and good

be done

will."

which our Lord spoke, and which all

our soul and

all

our all

have really been put

only to act in this

way

but once,

sense the almost unlimited possibili-

progress that are latent in the world and in ourselves. in us

which could lead us ever

out beyond the horizons, to a place

tions,

to

as charity should be per-

our heart and

we were

There are possibilities

start

is

can ever say that he acts thus? That

we would immediately ties for

what

exactly that which ful-

his heart, all his soul, all his strength

into

overly exerts us.

farther,

where we would have

to

over and over again the process of clarifying our inten-

removing after-thoughts and shedding

light

on interior

dodges and dishonesties, conquering the rebellion and meannesses in our hearts. These are the possibilities of which Christ has spoken in His "All":

55

all

the heart,

all

the soul,

all

the strength. But

concerns the

what can

in

is

it

mean when

it

and all-holy God who sees everything,

infinite

and whose love

this "all" possibly

the

place which

first

makes ours

possible? If

we were

to

probe a

to this question,

we would be

of the figure of a

new

a

man

one

or

who

woman who

little

able to recognize the outlines

type of saint.

It is

tive of

God's

sents itself to

will.

a matter of

man and woman who wishes

act well in a given situation will do. all,

no longer

does exceptional things, but simply of

does what every

Above

further into the answer

however,

this

He understands

him here and now

56

is

No

man

more, and no

to

less.

acts in the perspec-

that the task

which pre-

indeed something which

A NEW KIND OF SAINT he must accomplish. He slouch.

He makes use

God and can

not a visionary, neither

is

he a

of his intelligence to do his duty before

give a good reason at

But more important

is

all

times for what he does.

his conscience has experienced a

still,

great deepening. His actions are placed in the world, but are

subject to the will of

God who

yet in His Infinity outside

by

all

sorts of selfishness

innocence which marked

it.

the Creator of the world and

In the midst of a life disjointed

and it

is

lies,

in the

he

is in

search of a primal

beginning before

man

set

himself at odds with God.

To

desire these things: that

is

true love.

And

in that

love, let us repeat, there are limitless possibilities: that of a

truth

which

is

always to be more complete, of good always

to

be made more pure, of action always to be more resolute. To see in these beginnings the

all

of

which our Lord speaks:

all

of the heart, all of the soul, all of the strength; to be able to

see

all in

consists.

these humble beginnings:

And

this sanctity

grows

it is

that in

in the

which sanctity

continuing struggles

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

against oneself: in the necessary renunciations, in the chal-

lenging effort toward an ever purer sincerity of spirit and tention.

58

in-

THE SAINTS

IN

OUR WORLD

Sanctity nurtured in this

way

is

obvious thing. One could almost say that this

hidden sanctity: one that hides

its

and

less is

less

an

a deliberately

greatness, one that does

things of lesser and lesser importance rightly; but

by that

fact

they become of greater and greater significance.

Of

less

important, be

do not

it

importance: for what he does great, difficult, or

finally matter.

What

is

dangerous

demanded

is

no longer

— these things

of us

may be some-

thing challenging or something only very average or even

minimal. right.

It

does not matter.

It is

needful only that

it is

done

But on the other hand, of greater signficance: because

the actions required are performed in the

manner absolutely

necessary for each of them, not as personal considerations or

61

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

feelings might dictate, but in the

has created

by the

all

things and

whose

fact that the situation

Man

— from

the

is

manner desired by God who

as

receives his task in

God who

is

done. Each action of

it is.

life

man

from the hand of God

who

has no interest in

who wish

to leave a job half-

truth and

dissemblers or fakers or those

takes on significace in that

more than man, more even than God, but between the man who

acts

and God who

moment

places his Creation in

the

man, "to

first

happens

till

it

and

essence, for

what

to

jectivity infused

God. There

is

much more

it is,

and

it

a concurrence in that precise

keep

it"

(Gen. 2:15).

What

most singular: the object of distinctly

at the

and clearly

same time by

with greater meaning in that

in its

its

very ob-

it is

done for

nothing extravagant, nothing extraordinary or

brilliant: there is

no question here of great experiences, of

dangers boldly encountered or of dazzling breakthroughs. is

is

man's hands — as he did with

in this perspective is

the action appears

each situation

will speaks in

hardly a matter of anything of any consequqence at

all

It



THE SAINTS except, and

who

it is

IN

OUR WORLD

in this that its signficance lies,

and for God. There

acts with God,

attention to the person.

We

is

it is

a person

nothing to

call

might even work beside such a

person, walk with him, and note nothing special. But the

man whose

spirit is

attuned to see these things will notice a

and orienta-

quiet freedom, a calm assurance, a spirit of love

tion to the divine, a heart that remains joyous of all cares

and

trials.

If

what we have thus

far suggested be true, or at

least capable of further elaboration

we can

possibly sketch from

Saint — one of our age.

who

the figure of a

will be closer to the spirit

Our times appear

personalities

it

toward the

to

new

type of

and character

be distrustful of extraordinary

and of heroes, of supermen. This

spite of the unhealthy,

truth, then

even insensate fascination

is

true in

still

shown

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

by some for the sensational

in

books and movies. People

today revere the sincere, the authentic, the genuine, the real far

above that which pretends

to

be superhuman or heroic.

Let

me

of

what

cite just

Toward pression use.

two instances the

"unknown

Formerly

end of the

first

I

mean.

world war the ex-

soldier" began to appear in everyday

we spoke

of great generals, of great

com-

manders and admirals who performed glorious deeds on land and

sea.

Such people began

to lose their fascination

on the

popular mind and were replaced, significantly, by average

people it,

who

who

love their country,

act calmly

who know

and decisively

right

their duty

and do

where they happen

to

be.

In place.

another order something analogous has taken

In technical, scientific or social tasks like those of

space exploration or politics, the complexities of the itself

work

has caused the individual to be replaced by teams, by

work-groups

in

distinction apart

which no one person can gain any special from the others but where each

65

is

important.

Each man does for the total

each

is

job but also shares responsibility

and common

have confidence concerned.

own

his

As

project.

Each knows that he can

in the others as far as the project itself is

far as labor

and achievement are concerned,

equal. In such instances as these

call the retreat of the

as well as from the

we observe what we may

extraordinary from the stage of history

main consideration

of people today.

individual effaces himself but in return gains a

new

The

import-

ance in his sharpened awareness of the social dimension of his task

and

its

benefit to his society.

66

It

does not seem improper

to

compare what

is

happening on these human and natural levels with what goes

on

in the supernatural

order of sanctity. The saint will no

longer be characterized by extraordinary behavior (as the historian, say, understands

it);

he will no longer appear to the

world as separated from his fellow men or above them.

On

the contrary, he will be doing the else:

what needs

to

be done, what

same thing as everyone is

right

and

will join to his behavior a purity of intention

just.

But he

more and more

deeply united to a great love of God; more and more detached

from selfishness and

dom which ius,

self-satisfaction.

He

thus attains a free-

has nothing to do with great originality or gen-

but only with his tremendously simple status as a person. This

is

not to deny that each

man

always have

will

a particular task in the general plan of history is

carrying out in the world.

ingly complex, however,

as

we

As

the world

which God

becomes increas-

more and more tasks

will await us

put ourselves at God's disposal. They will be numerous

and important, but they should never be allowed

shadow our grandeur

as

human

68

persons. Reflect for a

to over-

moment

THE SAINTS

IN

OUR WORLD

on the power which modern man has achieved over nature, but see too against

how

outdistancing him and turning back

is

it

him vengefully

gotten his personal

at

life;

every corner because he has foror think of

how

the individual

is

today absorbed by the state and society until he no longer thinks of himself as any

him, as a

file

in

today?

have

And

faith.

But can an honest

is

"still

man

desk.

still

is

first

and responsible?

How

(Jo. 5:4)

is

Epistle of the Apostle John,

the victory that overcomes the world,

our faith."

must

believe

read this phrase:

"This

to

believe," just that, but believe

fully conscious

such a faith formed? In the

we

number issued

the grandeur of the person, one

not merely

with a faith that

the

some governmental bureaucrat's

To appreciate of course

more than

THE SAINTS The world

exerts

pressure on us: externally in a thousand

many more and with much

ways, but in internally.

its

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

acts on the circumstances

It

greater insistance

and pre-conditions

of

our thoughts, on the criteria of our judgment, on our perception of

what and

sides

all

succeeds,

we

is

real

and what

tries to

is

essential.

overwhelm us

can no longer believe.

It

assails us

entirely. If the

We

from

world

must then overcome

this

pressure of the world, must free our minds and hearts

and

spirits,

must move further away from

it

each day.

Admittedly, this has always been the Christian's task. is

But

its

nature has changed from period to period.

very instructive to meditate on what

ian times,

when

the world

it

was

of the chaos resulting

ern

times,

God

beginning in the heart and

of the

was

a victory.

in the spirit, a

in

mod-

individual

outbreak of

set itself against the

individualism. Each time there

in the

to bring order out

from the great invasions; and

where the great enthusiasm

giving himself back to

in early Christ-

was dominated by myth;

middle ages when the problem was trying

It

An

choice

intuition

made deep

THE SAINTS reality

—a

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

"nature" whose existence has no need of just-

which

ification or cause, a thing

cope with

this attitude

from a new viewpoint. a

new way

see

it,

world

must learn how

just think is

To

examine

to

it

to distinguish in

We

must

nor affirm but see with our eyes



not really a "nature" as the monists describe

but the handiwork of God; that

universe, but a is

We

know how

should

the forms, the relations of the world.

— and not

that the

we

sufficient unto itself.

is

word

it

is

not a self-sufficient

that speaks to us of

God; and that man

not imprisoned by external or internal forces but can

achieve real liberty. Obviously

it

is

not a question here of

discovering some secret gap in the coherence of nature or the real; of opening a the world

is

a

window

in the wall, but of seeing that

countenance through which God looks

In the light of that look,

we

at us.

having the

will be capable of

freedom of the sons of God.

We

are

not

searching any longer for something

garish or loud or sensational.

discover again the the things

On

the contrary,

we have

silent, the delicate, the tender.

which can transfigure

the heart and the spirit only

God's disposal.

72

life.

to

These are

But they can come into

when we

place ourselves at

THE SAINTS

This

which we look here

is

We

is

must look

there

OUR WORLD

main area for

to the

new

a true understanding of

saints for our instruction.

another one: that they show us today

which

a love

the

is

IN

is

how

And

to cultivate

stronger than brute force and political power. to

them too

no such thing as

for

new

miracles.

(Some say

a miracle, or at least there are

today: the surprising thing about this assertion nearly always uttered by people

who have

is

that

that

none it

is

a truly astounding

confidence in the most bizarre forms of fakery and charlatan-

ism

in the medical, social, cultural

and

political fields.)

The

new

miracles will not be different than the old, in the sense

that

they are anything else than a manifestion of divine

power

in reality.

But they will be different in mode, just as

God's method of appearance varies according to the historical

moment. Perhaps the greatest miracle we can expect

see lightened the crushing burden of a world from

is to

which

people feel they have no escape, in which they can find no solace,

in

which they are driven

this

way and

frenzy and despair; perhaps the greatest miracle of

that with all

would

be the discovery by our society in the saints the peace of Christ

which surpasses

all

understanding.

73

SANCTITY AND THE LAITY

The

sanctity of

spoken — a

just

which we have

sanctity

which with-

draws more and more into the background as intense

— relates particularly

of the laity, is

becomes more and more

it

whose

to the role

position in the Church

the subject of such urgent discussion

What kind

today.

of

will

saints

lay

people be?

Not certainly the saints of the exceptional, for

must

in

whose existence

there

general be an atmosphere favor-

ing the extraordinary.

The

latter

no long-

er exists for believers today. Their sur-

roundings are standardized: they work in laboratories, in istrative

factories,

agencies

which function

in a

in

admin-

and organizations

predetermined way;

they live in homes which are often the

same the

to the slightest detail; they dress

same, and are subject to uniform

"packages" of education, entertainment, legislation. In

such an environment,

could they lead a Christian

which had

77

to

express

how

way

of life

in

extra-

itself

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

ordinary religious practices and experiences? They would

have

to

become strangers

to their

own ways

of existence;

they themselves would have to recognize their lives as absurdities.

Or

else they

would

tell

themselves that sanctity

is

not for them, but reserved for people in a world apart, people especially prepared for

would have

to

it.

heavenly father

entangled in

in this latter instance,

what

be done with our Lord's teaching:

"You therefore are

There

And

is

many

a

is

way

to

be perfect, even as your

perfect." (Matt. 5:48) of sanctity

open

theological problems,

to

some

all.

of

It

is

a

way

which touch

the very roots of Christian

some

locate at least

premise that the

From so in

modern

life.

But

clear ideas.

it is

It is

a

in

which we can

way founded on

the

answerable for the world.

laity is

the time of the middle ages, but increasingly times, Christian peoples have been developing

an idea of revolutionary significance

— namely, that religion

not simply the private relationship of a

God

one

man

or

woman

is

with

but also involves the right ordering and developing of

the world.

We

might say that a religious character was

stamped upon the world

in the

techniques of industry, in the

improvements of the sciences,

in the evolution of political

life,

insofar as

all

these relate back to the improvement of the

world before God. The idea of altering the world for God's sake

is

so deep-rooted

overlook

it.

It

is

also

and pervasive that we might almost

new and

pagan history that preceded

it,

79

shattering in terms of the

this

tremendous idea of Crea-

tion being filled

by man with the thought of God and of man

accomplishing the duty God has given for the world.

Of course only forgotten that

God

is

this is not really a

has always been a

it. It

new

idea; people

first article

the Father of the world. But for

had

of the faith

many

centuries

the idea had ceased being active in man's consciousness. In that time the

world was regarded as profane, neutral, auton-

omous.

And even never unopposed; than

We

it is

a

after the idea

it

was restored

was not unopposed

man,

in the past,

dominant and controlling idea of

have the proclamations of positivism

80

to

it

was

any more

all

society today.

to

contend with

SANCTITY AND THE LAITY

now; we have the programs of have within

and

frailities

Christianity.

in

us,

still

greater

a disembodied, phanton-like piety

transforming the world for

tion has to is

a task

danger to a vibrant

can neglect our duties, just as

In the past

we

can accept

from which the thought of

God remains

few generations, the

some extent displaced

God has

and we

our Christian consciences, weaknesses

that pose

We

totalitarian states;

absent.

latter

type of devo-

the notion that the world

given us, retarded a fuller development of

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

which man

the idea of world as God's property for

is

answer-

able.

But

world all

is

its

answerable for the world, and the

is still

entrusted to man.

goes well

and

man



many

He

is

charged with seeing that

to the extent that this is possible after sin

disorders.

Each man has

that exact point in space

this responsibility, at

and time where he

is.

His mission

not a "profane" task paralleling the religious one.

and as such religious or rather Christian. In the

itself

analysis there

God

It

is

in his faith

We

one obedience, one service which

and

think

in his

all

too

little

of our "mission."

aware of the world as the work

him,

work

ament

to see the

Creation:

is

"good."

Open

phrase repeated

"And God saw

of

final

man owes

work.

little

that

is

is

that

it

of God,

We

are too

work loved by

the pages of the Old Testfive

times in the account of

was good" (Gen.

1). It is this

world which

is

good before God

that

entrusted to God.

is

Too

often religious people speak glibly of the world as a dirty place, as a sphere subject to the

dominion of

and seduc-

evil

tion.

One consequence world has

of this

fallen prey to incredulity:

latter I

view

is

the

that

don't refer here only to

those outside the faith but also to people of the Church

who

do their daily work not from a sense of responsibility to the faith but only out of their technical

competence or

sake of personal advantage. This secularization of root one of the greatest dangers

spurred on by some blind belief thinks that the world can run

in

man

work

is at

faces in our time:

an inevitable progress, he

itself,

that

sufficient to itself without the direction

83

for the

human energy

is

and staying-power of

THE SAINTS the faith. But the faith

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

must take the world

in

hand

order, liberty

and balance which are essential

the chaos on

whose brink

to

higher order;

dominate

away anything from

professionalism of the scholars, the engineers, the It

it

civilization continually totters.

This does not (we should note) take

politicians.

to give

the

artists, the

merely elevates their technical capacities to a it

gives

them more ultimate meaning and

mony with man's whole

life

and destiny.

har-

None

of these observations

on the sanctity of the

layman's role should be understood to suggest any of the rather wild notions that the laymen or anything

of

that

sort.

is

a priest, or a pontiff

Certain theologians,

reading in

Peter's Epistle about the "holy priesthood" of the laity,

have

spread about some ill-formed notions on the role of the

laity.

Only confusion has even

in

resulted.

The layman

is

not a priest, not

an attenuated or symbolic manner. His mission, his

responsibility have nothing to do with those of the priest,

and they cannot be derived from them. His

85

role derives at

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

root from the second chapter of Genesis where, after the

account of creation, God gives the world to of a paradise for

him

"to

This paradise fable.

It

is

is

till it

and

to

keep

it"

in the

form

(Gen. 2:15).

not a world of imagination or of

the real world, the

work

of the

hands of God,

God has

sharing in the relation to grace which

God has

man

given man.

established the latter as master of the world. But

man's sovereignty

is

ceeds to the extent that sovereignty

is

and the service suc-

really a service;

man

fulfills

it

in purity.

For real

not violence but truth. This truth consists in

seeing the essence of things and doing them justice for what

they are: the handiwork of God, which to

is

to

be given back

God. This paradise

fable.

It

is

is

not a world of imagination or of

the real world, the

work

of the

sharing in the relation to grace which

God has

hands of God,

God has

given man.

established the latter as master of the world. But

SANCTITY AND THE LAITY man's sovereignty to the extent that is

is

really a service;

man

and the service succeeds For real sovereignty

fulfills it in purity.

not violence but truth. The truth consists in seeing the

essence of things and doing them justice for what they are:

the

handiwork

which

of God,

is

Man's revolt destroyed adise which

God gave

to

be given back to God.

to a certain extent the par1

him. Sin cloudeg his vision and render-

ed his sovereignty uncertain. But the world continues and

redemption has raised sibilities.

all

To understand

things to new,

the world

87

from

undreamed

of pos-

this point of view, to

THE SAINTS

how

life

make

a

see to

has been harmed by

work

man's heart, failures

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

to

— that

of

it,

make is

out to give

sin, to set

to start in

in

fresh beginnings in spite of repeated

the mission of the Christian

layman today.

man must now

struggle tragically just to bring order to a life that is

form,

motion the good things

Instead of being the master of the world,

That

it

is in

revolt.

where he must prove himself.

What achievement?

criterion First

can

be

applied

and most important of

to all,

judge

man's

man must

be

judged by his dutiful accomplishment of the work given him, the

work necessary

for the world.

It

is

one thing to worry

about our good intentions, to think about whether conscientious or honest. But

we must

first

of

all

are.

of our society will clearly

show

are

do the things

that the world expects of us: our situation in life

demands

we

and the

us what these things

SANCTITY AND THE LAITY

Then comes concern with intention, with spiritual

the

we

with which

intensity

are to do

our work. Finally, for every

work is

in the

a correct

ing

it

out:

world there

way it is

of carry-

the latter

which must be made part of the religious spirit in

our time, so that

we

are

THE SAINTS

IN

DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

not accused of replacing

technique with piety, of

throwing holy water on inadequately done tasks.

Only

we

in

this

way

can

give substance to our

love

of

and

God,

it

is

thus that the world will return to His will.

world

will

then

The cease

being profane, an autono-

90

SANCTITY AND THE LAITY

mous "nature"

may work

which man

in

wants

he

as

work, an autonomous

which man

tion of tor.

will

On

tent

it

by

on

seriousness

a

being it

acosmic

will

itself into

and

once again

the world of

matter and history.

91

the crea-

has lost to some ex-

puritanical;

plunge

civiliza-

the other hand, piety

take

which

is

to

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL Our Permanent Corrective

WAY

We

have been dealing

characteristics of a

new

work with

possible

we have been

describ-

in this

type of saint:

ing a model. There are dangers involved in this kind of projection

and

dangers

are.

demands God;

it is

this

a

We

good

to

keep clearly

mind what these

in

have said that the saint

of his daily life as a

way

in

respond

to

of expressing his love for

emphasis on work can lead

mere involvement

will

to

a situation for its

mere activism,

own

sake.

As

to

for

thoughts of love, these might be debased into rationalization, a sort of guarantee of the action in It is

the

same with what was

purity and even

its

which we are immersed.

said of intention:

and turn

sincerity

righteousness.

95

it

can lose

its

into a type of self-

THE SAINTS

IN DAILY

CHRISTIAN LIFE

Such errors are compounded with misunderstanding if

the sense of responsibility for the world degenerates into

thoughts of inevitable progress and unguarded optimism. The basis of the Christian

life is

the Cross, and

it

would be

to think of ourselves living the Christian life

foolish

without some

share in the suffering of Christ. Our whole attitude would

become nothing

preoccupied with the

else than a naturalism

world and the work of the world.

In dedicating ourselves to the

work

of the world,

we

can also forget the significance of detachment from the

immediate St.

ties of the

Paul that "the time

wives be as

if

world: observe the warning given by is

short;

it

remains that those

they had none; and those

not weeping; and those

who

rejoice, as

96

who weep,

who had

as though

though not rejoicing;

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL

WAY

and those who buy as though not possessing and those who use this world as though not using that of St. John,

still

it" (1

Cor. 7:29-31), and

more urgent: "Do not love

the things that are in the world. the love of the Father

is

If

the world, or

anyone loves the world,

not in him; because

all

that

is in

the

THE SAINTS world

is

pride of

And

DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the life;

which

is

the world with

the will of

God

We for

IN

not from the Father but from the world.

its lust is

passing away, but he

abides forever."

(1 Jo.

who

does

2:15-17)

thus return here to the permanent significance

any kind of Christian sanctity of the saints of the excep-

tional ficed

way: the men and

all,

for God.

women who,

undertook

dared

all,

They

shall

to bear

remain for

all

for love of God, sacri-

every suffering and pain

the ages of Christianity to

the end of the world the proper guides to spur on our efforts; as models

who

will inspire our slackening efforts.

heart of their ideal of sanctity of

the

was

the faithful achievement

evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity,

They undertook these freedom we

will

things to be free for God.

always be able

negative, but lessons

which

the world: our proper uses of

At the

obedience.

And

to see not just

in their

something

will teach us the actual uses of

money and

property, liberty and

community.

The

ideal of these saints of the exceptional

way

will teach Christians about the

need

will be forever valid.

It

to establish a suitable order in the uses of property, in free

98

SAINTS OF THE EXCEPTIONAL

decision, in marriage,

and also

in

all

WAY the

demands

of an

authentic culture. In a final analysis that order can be established only in the

same

spirit,

with the same sense of sacrifice

and through the same resources by which the great men and

women

of the exceptional

way

lived

and died.

THE WITNESS OF THE SAINTS

From what has been

said

up

to

now, someone might

erroneously conclude that the objective of the saints

is

to

provide better solutions to the problems of the world, to render the world just a tity in all its

more

little

efficient

every day. Sanc-

mystery upon mystery of grace would be thereby

disparaged as just a supernatural means to a totally worldly end.

Man would The

be delivered up to the world as

truth

is

the very opposite.

The

give witness to the ultimate freedom that Christ.

They dedicate themselves earnestly

the world because

"history"

is

— our

it

is

its slave.

saints constantly

comes only from to their tasks in

God's will for them to

know what

history, the history of fallen

God's design for them to see

how much

103

men.

disorder there

It

is

is in

man down

to his

how much resistance another way of saying that

very core, and with

man opposes God.

This

just

is

they experience in their lives the mystery of God's love for

man

in

redeeming man and

The hardest

him

his grace.

part of their experiences

in life there is not only

and

in giving

human

is to

see that

disorder, but also deliberate

willful disorder, voluntary blindness in the supernatural

sphere. Let us merely think of Christ's situation

— of the wall

of will to power, of blindness, of lying that

was erected

around Him, and against which His living truth was unable to prevail.

It

was unable

have the power but because

He

to

make

did not

to prevail not it

because

prevail instantly

want

to

if

He

did not

so wished,

suppress that freedom by

which alone genuine good can be accomplished.

104

He

THE WITNESS OF THE SAINTS

We those

might even say that

who wish

to

do well whatever

even though they might not that of sanctity.

But there

Christian and others

Christian

is

who

start is

it

what happens is

to all

they have to do,

from ideas as sublime as

one difference between the

simply do their tasks well: the

not permitted ever to despair, ever to be pes-

simistic even.

men

this is

The Christian does not have

are bad, society

is

corrupt,

all effort is

must simply love the world and remain

the right to say:

without hope. He

faithful to

it.

THE SAINTS

He does John forbade

IN DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

not love the world in the sense that

when he

St.

wrote: "Do not love the world, or the

things that are in the world"

(1 Jo. 2:15).

He

loves

it

in the

sense which the same Apostle described elsewhere: "For

God

He gave His only begotten son

that

so loved the world that

those

who

everlasting

believe in

Him may

life " (Jo. 3:16).

God. Disorder

in the

world

the non-believing pessimist

The

Christian,

else, suffers his,

not perish, but

The Christian shares affects

who

him

may have

this love of

differently than

rejects

it

as corrupt

it

and

does lost.

and consequently the saint more than anyone

with the world

but because

it

is

in its distress:

the world of God.

not because

it

is

Pessimism and optimism are poor ways terms with reality:

-the

the world; the other in ing under illusions.

in the rejection

and condemnation of

exultation. But they are both labor-

saint,

on the contrary, desires only

see the truth, to see the world as

And

to

Both of them scorn

its

The

come

life.

conditions of real

one finds shelter

to

it

really

to

is.

the saint perseveres in this faithfulness to the

world. They have the strength for this not because they think the world will be "fixed up,"

if

only

enough. They are realists and they

is

it

know

worked

that the

never be "fixed up." The condition of the world incurable. a revolt

It

has as

its

cause the revolt of

men

which cannot be eradicated from

at long

world can

bottom

is at

against

history, but

God



which

can be integrated in a greater love. Nor do the saints always

107

THE SAINTS

IN

DAILY CHRISTIAN LIFE

expect to see the results of their efforts; perhaps they will

never see any result except

failure,

must of necessity ex-

perience failure, for what they wish for the world

is

too big

ever to be finally and totally achieved before their eyes.

This does not slacken their energy and ever, for they

world.

If

we

Christ Himself

know

effort,

they are part of God's design for the

consider only immediate results, the

was

how-

a defeat, a failure.

It

ended

life

of

in a catas-

THE WITNESS OF THE SAINTS trophe,

and people who listened

He Himself

perished. But

catastrophe that

He opened

same may be said

it

was

him

faithfully thought that

precisely by

way

the

of saints

to

of

God

way

of that

to the world.

and of Christians

The

in general.

Everything they do has a mysteriously dual character. They

concern themselves with caring for the real world and they

do so with

a sincerity

and perseverance greater than those of

any reformer; but on the other hand they know that what they do cannot be translated into tangible results. laid at

and how he wishes. Perhaps they never see anything, until the

ment

unknown

God's feet to be used in his

of a

new

The

final

creation.

saints, strangely

enough, feel a greater sense of

tendencies,

from

the

— with those who

spirit

spirit

passion, from deliberate foolishness.

and body, from

of

rebellion

They don't

just

these things to appreciate the plight of the fallen.

experienced their solidarity with sinners original sin

transmittal of the

for

anything,

judgment and the establish-

from contradictions between

anti-social

simply

designs where

know

will never

solidarity than the rest of us with sinners suffer

It is

and they have experienced

and

imagine

They have

in the doctrines of

in their

own

flesh its

— with the result that the suffering and disorder

world causes them

to feel a

it.

109

personal responsibility

THE SAINTS It

true that

is

some measure, but level.

CHRISTIAN LIFE

IN DAILY

all

Christians feel this solidarity in

generally remains at an unconscious

it

Here again the saints are

realists.

They do not

hide themselves from the truth. They face up to

it.

try to

While we

others are aware only under certain circumstances of original sin,

they live

it

And

constantly.

makes them reach

that

depth of suffering with others and for others there

no longer any question of

is

need

their

a

to a

degree that

to see

immediate

they enter into union with the suffering which

success;

Christ suffered for the world. Quite simply put, the path of

moment what

sanctity consists in wishing to do at each

good. But

how many

Doesn't factors

it

makes our

the following:

of us

vision unclear?

when you wish

long one.

The road

it.

One

is

is

good?

often happen that the interplay of various

you must be prepared have seen

know what

is

to see to

to

it;

We

ought then to postulate

know what you must

and

to

do

it,

such disposability

almost tempted to say that

is it

as soon as

do,

you

undoubtedly

a

has no end; for

behind each single resistance overcome, do not fresh ones without end

rise

up?

Sometimes the confusion even manage

to

ask what

is

is

good.

we do not Sometimes, we seem to so great that

see not evil confronting good, but good confronting good, so that

we

are thence reduced to satisfying ourselves with prob-

110

THE WITNESS OF THE SAINTS remaining in a situation without solution.

abilities, or

We

can

get the impression in these circumstances that the search for

the good

a hopeless battle. All those

is

who

labor in the real

world are aware of the resulting anguish.

And

yet,

we must

not give up. The

not suffice to express the nature of the this world.

The

loss of

life

word

'tragic'

does

which we have

in

good people from the Church, the big

opportunities missed, the failure of projects to achieve something perfect: these are just so

signposts of

life.

many dismal and

discouraging

But here again, whoever has a Christian out-

look will not seek refuge in excuses and ideologies; he must

"hope against hope," believe (Rom. 4:18) and for the

upon the

justice of

God.

rest call