Ask anyone what they want to be and they will hardly ever say they want to be a saint! Perhaps the way 'Saints' were presented was so 'holy' it was hard to understand or get near them. These people were the first victims of air brushing, where all their humanity was edited out of the story of their lives.
One line from Flannery O'Connors short stories suggests that when the sun strikes the trees in a certain way, even the meanest trees sparkle. In this way all of us, no matter our shortcomings, say or do things that bring the light of love into the world.
Did you know, for example, that St Patrick was a slave in Ireland and the thought of going back there wasn't his first choice. He arrived carrying his hurt, his anger and resentment. But as he listened to the people's stories, he grew to love them. This is a Patrick who seized the opportunity to grow through his pain into Love.
Did you know, for example, that St Francis sought an audience with the Sultan Malik Al Kamil with the intention of converting him, or making him kill him as a martyr. The Sultan silenced Francis by insisting that it was irreverent for humans to speculate about God. Then told him he could tell the difference between a crusader and a holy man and he had no intention of killing a holy man. After this, Francis instructed his Friars to treat Saracens and Christians as equals. And each time he blew that Sultans gift of a horn, calling people to prayer, he was sounding the end of the Crusades.
Two stories of people constantly converting to Love. Both open to every opportunity that rose before them and rising to meet it. Is this readiness the heartbeat of true Sanctity?
When Blessedness knows it is poor in itself, the Kingdom of God is near.
When Blessedness mourns in the face of sin and death, comfort comes.
When the Blessedness of the meek does not resort to violence they outlive to violent.
When Blessedness seeks a better world, it will not be denied.
When Blessedness shows mercy, mercy grows more quickly.
When Blessedness holds onto its interior communion with God, it will see Gods activity in the world.
When Blessedness works for peace, Gods parenthood becomes clearer.
When Blessedness is persecuted because it threatens the rich and powerful it stands as a powerful ambassador for the Kingdom of love and service.
All Saints and Sinners struggle to live their spiritual communion in the tumult of the world.
But we still have to answer the question, what do we want to be?