Holiness is not something strange or above and beyond the reach of us. In fact, it is all around us, for the simple reason that God is everywhere. There is no part of the Universe where God is not. That is a comforting fact when we are faced with a lonely or discouraging experience. It is also a challenging fact when we are tempted to selfishness or moral cowardice or anything else that is less than perfect. You notice I call it a fact, not a thought. That is because most of us are apt to be a little choosey about what we deign to call ‘holy’. We like our holy places to conform to our own ideas of what they should be; we like our saints to be what we would secretly like to be ourselves. I have not the slightest hesitation in admitting that I never found St John Paul II personally sympathetic, but he is a saint, and one who challenges me much more than I find comfortable. I thank God for saints such as he.