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Saints

Confessions of a realistic Pollyanna

In the film "Agnes of God" the mother superior played by Anne Bancroft and the investigator played by Jane Fonda talk about smoking.  They ponder what the saints of old would have smoked.  St. Augustine would have smoked a pipe.  Joan of Arc would have smoked Virginia Slims.  Then the old nun says there are no saints anymore, a lot of good people but no saints.
 
Another film takes a different stand on this issue.  In the movie St. Vincent, children going to a Catholic school are asked to write on a modern day saint.  One boy chooses his neighbour Vincent.  At first it seems to be an odd choice. Vincent is an alcoholic.  He is, to put it mildly, gruff with everyone he meets.  He swears.  He gambles.  He steals.  He spends time with prostitutes.  Yet the boy sees something else.  Vincent was a war hero.  Vincent does as much as he can to care for his wife.  The alcoholic also teaches the boy how to get along with others and in his own way cares for his neighbour.  To the boy, Vincent is more than his rough exterior.  Vincent is much more than his faults.  Vincent is a gift from God.
 
I think given these two points of view, I believe there are saints everywhere.  Saints are not just super humans from the past who lived fantastically good lives- so good in fact that no average person or even no virtuous person could match.  I think the problem the nun has in "Agnes of God" is that she places her saints on such high pedestals that no one could approach them.  They become Wonder Women and Supermen compared to me.  And no matter how much I try, there is very little Clarke Kent in me.  The mother superior removed Augustine, Joan, Francis, and Theresa from reality.  And when she did that, it means everyone else comes up lacking.
 
But I have met saints in my life and they bore little resemblance to comic book super heroes.  The saints I have met have their warts.  Oh maybe they were not as depraved as St.Vincent, but they all had their short comings.  But as they talked with me and I got to know them, I realized that I had learned more about myself, the world, and God.  No I don't expect the pope to canonize them anytime soon, but I do know that many people have been saints to me.  I give thanks for their ministry and wisdom.  Who are your saints?  Blessings. 
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