Goodness v. Sanctity

My mind wandered this morning while reading an edifying extract from St Thérèse of Lisieux, whose feastday this is. So many people seem to have got hold of a travesty of the saint, seeing her as a hothouse flower rather than the wrench of steel she truly was. In much the same way, I think a lot of us waste time striving to be good rather than aiming at sanctity itself. Of course there are aspects in common. One can’t be a saint and live an immoral or selfish life; but goodness often has an uncomfortable element of self-regard, as though we were taking a perpetual selfie of ourselves in order to scrutinize our motives and keep a tally of our successes and failures. Sanctity, by contrast, is more forgetfulness of self — not in the sense that we are indifferent to the rightness or wrongness of our thoughts and actions, but in the sense that we turn them all over to God and allow him to be the arbiter. If, like me, you are inclined to be lazy, may I suggest you concentrate on sanctity rather than goodness? It is much easier; and ultimately it brings us closer to God. In fact, come to think of it, it is remarkably like the Little Way of St Thérèse herself.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail