Why does the Apostles' Creed include „the communion of saints“ as one of the twelve articles of faith, one of the twelve essentials of our religion? Because our fundamental vocation in life is to be saints. Because, as Charles Peguy puts it, „life holds only one tragedy, ultimately; not to have been a saint.“ Because this whole world is a saint-making machine. Because the whole purpose of creation, revelation, Incarnation, Atonement, and Church is to make us saints. Because everything the Church does, from setting up bishops to setting up chairs, from raising money to raising martyers, has no other purpose than this. Because life itself has no other purpose than this.
Saints are not far-out freaks, wierdos, or exceptions. They are the rule, the plumb line, the sandard operating model for human beings. If we are not saints, we are the exceptions to the rule, whether we make up 1 percent or 99 percent of the human race.
In the biblical sense of the word, all believers are saints. Saints are not the opposite of sinners. There are no opposites of sinners in this world. There are only saved sinners and unsaved sinners. Holy does not mean sinless but special, set apart, called out of the world to the unthinkable destiny of eternal ecstasy in spiritual marriage to God Almighty.
In the popular sense of the word, sainthood is a matter of degree: a saint us someone who does something better than most of us. What thing? One thing with three sides: faith, hope and love.
The Church's language is half biblical and half popular when she canonizes certain „saints“, i.e., solemnly declares that certain known and named persons are both in heaven and worldly models for our earthly imitation. The modern world is a world without heroes. Saints are the answer. Saints are the true heroes.
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