One of my favorite little bonuses that come with being Catholic is our devotion to the Saints. We are able to look to our elder brothers and sisters in the faith as examples of human holiness take it to it’s natural extreme. With so many Saints, it’s a safe bet that any struggles or intentions we may need help with, there is a Saint who has experienced something similar whose prayers we can seek out for guidance, help, and comfort on our path to Christ.
As much as I love the victories they’ve won by Christ’s power over temptation and even the tempter himself, I used to find myself being overwhelmed by the gap between my holiness and theirs. Now, make no mistake about it, there is a reason that gap seems so large. Namely, because it is that large. Here’s where we get back to one of those key, foundational philosophies of InkleDeux: We are works in progress. The Saints, by definition, have attained their Heavenly reward. They have run the race, as St. Paul says, and they ran so as to win. We, on the other hand, are still in the midst of the competition. Our end is not yet set, our story not yet written.
This is why I so deeply love the stories of the Saints struggles, of their temporary failures that served as steps on their paths to holiness. Just as we often learn more from our failures than our successes, we can also learn a great deal from their humanity and human shortcomings. Look at St. Peter, the rock on which Christ founded His Church. Almost immediately after Christ names Simon as Peter, Jesus has to correct Peter very strongly, calling him a satan. St. Terese of Lisieux was annoyed to no end by the small habits of a fellow sister in her community.
I would argue that these examples of their weakness and struggles do nothing to diminish their success and their holiness, but instead, our knowledge of just what they overcame makes them a more effective example to us. One of the advantages of a relationship with the Saints is, after all, our ability to relate to them, to know we aren’t the first to struggle, and to know that our struggles can, in fact, be overcome.
All this said, I really encourage you all to look at the lives of the Saints, and to dig deep into their lives, past the well known stories and miracles, and really study their struggles, so we can learn from them how to truly strive.
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