SAINTS DO NOT POSSESS an extra layer of muscle. They are not taller, and they do not sport superior IQs. They are not richer, and their parents are not more clever than yours or mine. They have no batlike perception that enables them to fly in the dark. They are flesh and blood, just like you and me, no stronger, no more intelligent. And that is the point. They simply offer themselves to God, knowing they are not the elite, fully cognizant that they are inadequate to the task, that their abilities are limited and fallible.
– James C. Howell
Servants, Misfits, and Martyrs: Saints and Their Stories
Limited and fallible. This is so true. There are moments when we might feel invincible and nothing will stop us from achieving greatness. Then there will be times in the valleys where we wonder when are we getting out of the pit.
Teaching while revising Church History has been good for me personally as well. It brings perspective very often due to the “strangeness” of the people and episodes when put side by side ours. One things comes out strongly, Those who have gone before us are flesh and blood. There is no doubt their heroic pursuits are praiseworthy, but not in spite of their humanness, rather in and through the limited and fallible bodies which walk the pages of history.
Does this make us live defeated lives? what happened to all the triumphalism couched in victorious Christian living? If we don’t want live in illusions, then is the only way out cynicism?
That’s the kind of tension which keeps us moving. Keeps us alive albeit with some struggle.
Offering ourselves to God. Even without resolving the tensions, and getting everything nailed down the way we might want it to be, this is one thing we can still do. Maybe it’s the only thing we can.