Page 12, 25th November 1938

25th November 1938
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Page 12, 25th November 1938 — ,? What Are Saints ?
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,? What Are Saints ?

Fr. Martindale Sums Up In A Concluding Article

HIS is the last of this series of articles about the Saints, and I cannot imagine how Dorn Theodore will illustrate it. For it will be about no one Saint in particular. Yet we ought to have some kind of summing-up.

The article on the Souls in Purgatory was legitimately included; because anyone in Purgatory will be a Saint; and so we all shall be, unless we lose our souls altogether, which God forbid. This prevents us from cutting the Saints off from human nature at large, and from somehow thinking that they are a class by themselves. Canonised Saints are undoubtedly a class by themselves; because, for some reason known to Himself, God has willed that they should be officially " placarded." In this matter of placarding, the Church is simply obedient In various ways God makes it clear that He wants so and so to be exhibited to the world: He may do this by causing the Saint in question to be very extraordinary during his or her lifetimeto fly about like St. Joseph of Cupertino; to have ecstasies like St. Teresa; to do an astounding amount of work like St. Francis Xavier; to be a sort of " specialist " like St. Camillus of Lellis or St. Peter Claver: or again, He may " hide up" His Saint altogether, during his or her lifetime, like St. John Berchmans, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, or St. TherBse of Lisieux; and then cause the minds of men to become suddenly obsessed by the person in question, and simply demand canonisation.

It remains that Saints are Christians who, in this life, have somehow become very like Christ-very like Him, as He would have been had He been a king, a beggarman, a tradesman, a university-student, an artist, a Pope, or a professional man.

"Spiritual Publicity" I do not think it is rash to offer the opinion that hitherto priests, or nuns, people with an " ecclesiastical backing." have had a better chance of " spiritual publicity " than others: but that now-and certainly if the wishes of the Reigning Pontiff are attended to and fulfilled-very many more laymen and married women are destined for " canonisation " than has hitherto been usual. It was because of this that I wrote the last chapter in " What are Saints?"-called " Saints without the St." They are (we may hope) only at present St-less. If they are some day St-ed, they will be found to include lawyers, doctors, university men (and girls), working men, and possibly even politicians. (Bankers? That is hoping a lot; but while the pagan said, " The sum-total of life forbids us to start any far-off hopes"; the Christian, on the other hand, is right in thinking he is truly practising the virtue of Hope the more hope-less the situation seems. " Hope deferred maketh the heart sick." Indeed it does: but only because the hope-er is not Christian enough. Even in the Scriptures, martyred Saints sighed: " How long?" And they were gently told that they must wait yet a little while.) Not Any One Class Anyway, if readers of the Csrnouc HERALD have troubled to read the whole of this series through, they will certainly have seen (i) that Saints do not belong to any one class of social life; and (ii) that their sanctity did not depend on or even display itself in unusual events such as miracles or ecstasies. Anyone who wants to limit Christ in the matter of Christ-likeness very soon finds himself-well, not snubbed, exactly, because Our Lord is never unkind -but certainly checked.

No one has the right to say that a Christlike, Christ-indwelt man must be " like this," or do " so and so." The universality of Christ, His all-inclusiveness, can but display itself in us-very limited, very odd, very " personal" (or again " conventional ") men and women, partially. I suppose that if we were very intelligent and also imaginative people indeed, we would see every colour in a ray of pure white light. But we don't. We require a bit of " cut glass," which breaks up the white light into a prism. Then we fall (at least I do, in my poor way) into a sort of ecstasy. We feelWas ever red so red; violet so delicate; blue, A HEATHER-THATCHED BIRD TABLE, 7ft. high, 205.; earrlage paid, lists of other patterns and WINDSHELTF,R FENCINGS on request.-Easy Fencing, 1, Chidhane Chichester. Al cit°(;KERY. Assorted crates, fos. Glass. ware, Hardware, Bulged ware and Bazaar ware. Dinner sets free. Coloured Catalogue frce.-Bridge Street Pottery (El. Burstein PEN-FRIENDS' CIRCLE. Mass for Members -1November 20. Non-Catholic readers. interested in Catholic affairs welcomed. BOX 162, RAINCOATS made like new. ss, 6d.; have your Raincoat cleaned, properly proofed, and re-tinted by the " Brock " process, You will be delighted with the result. Rubber mackintoshes excepted Post te BROCK-WALLACE LIMITED, Waterproofers, Dept. H. Silver Royd Mills. Leeds 12. REAL LACES RENOVATED. Specialists for -"" nearly 70 years in the art of repairing, remodelling, cleaning, ew., every kind of lace, Estimates and advice by expere-P. STEINMANN a Co.. 185(e. Piccadilly, London, W.I. QPIELNX JIG SAW CLUB, Ashburton, S. Devon, I.-Established 1913. Subscription 21s. Used puzzles sold. stamp. pansmsu. Reliable Printers. Established 1866. Magazines. Booklets, Folders, Leaflets, Posters. Handbills. Estimates Erce.-MEAD & SON, Sandy, Beds C, ROGERS, Pianoforte repairer. Special " Xmas tunings, ss. 195 Harrow Road, London, W.2.

so beyond-all-the-skies? Somewhat so, we feel, in the dear Saints; " What must Christ be?" In each Saint, Christ reveals some small ray of His loveliness.

Whether Docker or Duke This is one reason why I should like every Christian to desire-not to try to be like St. Aloysius, or St. Catherine of Siena, or the Cure d'Ars, or the Little Flowersimply because each Christian is his or her self, and not St. Aloysius or the others. But I would want every Christian to try to be as like Christ as he, or she, can be, and to be it whether he is a docker or a duke, not wasting time over supposing that he could be " very good " in circumstances that are not his. And he is quite safe in trying to be like Our Lord, simply because Our Lord is so all-inclusive, that there is bound to be that in Him to which a very good version of the few and small elements which make up each of us, can correspond; whereas it does not at all follow that I, a limited man, am meant to or even can coincide with a St. Aloysius or a St. John Bosco-for they too were limited men, and did not reproduce the whole of Christ.

Crying Need for Saints But what I think we need earnestly to ask God's grace for is, to become Saints, leaving it to Him what kind of Saint we become. I repeat yet again that only very seldom would the position we occupy in life necessitate our getting out of it, in order to please God perfectly. Someone who was forced by the very nature of his occupation to cheat, or to promote im morality, would have to leave that occupation, I agree, and I have known men who have done so-or at least, who refused to take up such a job, even though starvation seemed the only alternative. But I cannot see any more crying need, in our days, than for Saints : we may promote all sorts of good societies or confraternities, and contribute largely to charities; but if our moral standard, our way of judging events, our desire to " live up to " some social level or other are in reality those of even the most " respectable " non-Catholic, be he Protestant or agnostic, we are not being the kind of Catholic that Christ wants, nor can we do any fully Christianising work in the world.

Now there is no doubt but that the foundation of all Christian progress is the giving up of our own will, and in fact selfsacrifice. Every man and woman spends thought, time, money upon what he or she likes or wants. The notion of self-sacrifice in regard of all, or some, of such things is not much preached. Free self-sacrifice: glad self-sacrifice: wholly unadvertised self-sacrifice.

In food, clothes, amusements and, of course, in all that concerns our lower nature, such as gossip, detraction, administration of snubs, exclusiveness, I would like to see among all Catholics the sacrifice of all that can be called " luxury." For me, " luxury " in a Catholic does not "rhyme" with anything that he professes in virtue of his Faith.

I see no reason at all for girls coming to Holy Communion not only with their lips vividly painted but their very nails coloured in the savage way which is at present the vogue. I see no reason for our girls being " in the fashion " to that extent Nor for our young men contributing to the kind of talk of which, in business hours, they are bound to hear a lot.

I think it appalling that any Christian should be so totally devoid of any interior Christian life that it becomes practically impossible for him to stay at home in the evening, but that he should have to go out, whether or no to a cinema.

We Catholics have, in fine, to lift up our whole level of practice of the moral virtues, wholly disregarding comment; wholly content with being, thereby, more like Our Lord and His Mother, and thus, advancing on the road to sanctity.

Should this series have inspired even one or two thus to act, we should he happy.




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