Monday, May 27, 2002

The worst sinners make the greatest saints...

Why? Because such people are, in my opinion, some of the greatest displays of God's grace and it's ability to save even those we would write off as irredeemable. Now, I'm sure people will say "Thomas, this just isn't so... just look at the examples of holy men and women such as Padre Pio, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Terese of Avila, The Blessed Virgin Mary... they were not bad sinners and they are some of the great Saints in Heaven."

But what are we to make of men and women such as St. Paul, St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalene? In addition, if we could speak to people such as Padre Pio and St. Terese, they would indeed claim to be stained by sin. Why? Because you can't pull a fast one on a Saint of the Church and these two were no doubt aware of the terrible consequences of removing ourselves from the sight of God even for a mere instant.

When I think about sin, my thoughts turn almost immediately to Luke 15:10 which states: Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.... and it is that verse which speaks to me and leads me to the conclusion that the worst sinners make the greatest saints. What this means is that each one of us has an opportunity to lead by example and to be a billboard for the graces of God. If we can effect a change of heart for ourselves, what would this mean for others? If we can be proof of the redeeming gifts of Christianity, and they are very important and necessary gifts for salvation, wouldn't more people want them? The worst sinners can make the greatest saints because their turn-around can be, especially in this day and age, one of the greatest signs of God's greatness.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen stated : Sin, in all its forms, is the deliberate eviction of Love from the soul. If we could turn from sinner to saint, love will flow forth. With all the terror, war and fear in this world, isn't love needed above all things? Didn't St. Paul say Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law, in Romans 13:8? St. Paul went on to say that love does no wrong to a neighbor (Romans 13:10) and in this world, we are all neighbors... we just don't act like it. And since we don't act it, love is not in the world, and the world is still steeped in sin.

I know I didn't do a very good job of stringing these thoughts together, but that title was just too good to pass up on, and I needed to get my thoughts, however crude in form they were, onto virtual paper before they slipped from my mind. Perhaps people can expound on these musings and do a better job of it than I did, and please feel free to do so.

In closing, let me finish up with the Second Reading from Holy Trinity Sunday, taken from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 11-13:

Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

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