Sin is monotonous. Sanctity is totally original.
Underneath this observation lurks a deeper truth–that sin is boring. We believe in original sin, but there is nothing original about sin. This is because evil is derivative. Satan cannot create anything, all he can do is twist or destroy or distort what is good. Take any sin at all and you will find that it is a distortion or destruction of something that is good.
Lying? It’s the absence or the truth or the distortion of truth or the destruction of truth. Lust? It’s the destruction, distortion or absence of love. Theft? It’s the distortion or destruction of the proper love of one’s rightful possessions. Gluttony? It’s a perversion and excessive love of food and hospitality. So it can go on. Anything sinful, wicked or evil is only and can only ever be, a distortion or destruction or absence of what is positive, good, beautiful and true.
That’s why it’s ultimately boring. It’s a downward spiral. There’s nothing original about sin. It may be tantalizing to start with, but it gets old and boring very quickly. It’s boring because there’s nothing new about it. Of course the dedicated sinner may find new ways to make his sin boring, but the only way this is possible is for him to go further and more deeply into perversion. So the drunkard will find cheaper and nastier booze to float him off to his fake nirvana. The sex addict will pursue ever stranger perversions and obsessions. The greedy brute will find ever more twisted ways to accumulate far more money than he needs or will ever be able to spend, and still in the end it is boring. Dead boring. Boring dead. Dead. Nothing. Nada. Nihilistic Zilch–and it must be nihilistic zilch because sin is only ever about the negation of the good, the destruction of the wholesome, the undermining of truth and the distortion of what is truly beautiful and beautifully true.
Sanctity, on the other hand, is forever young, forever dynamic, forever beautiful and mysterious and expansive and true. Do not mistake what I call ‘sanctity’ for religiosity, piousness, prudishness, legalism, dogmatism, false humility or self righteousness. All of those things are either counterfeits of sanctity or stages on the way to true sanctity. To see what sanctity is study the lives of the saints.
You will find there real human beings who were at once the most natural of people, yet filled with a supernatural power. They were at once humble yet heroic. They are dynamic yet always at peace. They are intelligent but not always well educated. They have human frailties but are extraordinarily strong. They are simple but mysteriously complex. In each one you find a totally unique and intriguing and original human being.
They are as different as faces and yet they all, in their own way reveal the face of the One Lord and Master of them all. If you want to see Christ in a thousand faces study the saints. If you want to see humanity fulfilled study the saints. If you want to see true originality, true passion and human life truly alive, study the saints.