Saints are dead, to begin with.
They’re dead, and Catholic, and they were very, very holy. Holy enough to be determined to be in Heaven with God, and thus able to perform miracles through their intercession.
But we constantly hear, “Oh, she/he’s an absolute saint!” Usually this describes someone alive, who has to put up with something—an uncooperative spouse, or many unruly children, or a particularly difficult situation. In other words, we use it to describe someone who is alive, and whose life sucks.
I’m pretty sure that holy doesn’t have to equal sucky. In fact, Fr. James Martin has written a book called “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.” I bought the book once. I didn’t read it.
I’m guessing, though, that he would have pointed out that while selflessness and holiness can sometimes feel bad, they don’t always. And we can still remain joyful. God desires our hearts, not our grimacing faces and dour disposition. (Maybe he doesn’t. Like I said, I didn’t read it. But I’m pointing it out now.)
So I think it’s perfectly reasonable to point out when someone is being saintly—just maybe not always when their life sucks. Perhaps we can point out when someone exhibits virtue, or selflessness, or joy.
In this vein, I’ve been taking a look at my favorite fictional characters as if they were saints. Yes, I know they’re not real. And they’re not usually dead (which may stem from never having been alive), and the Church has not waved her almighty magic wand and declared them Officially Saints. Honestly, I don’t care. I’m going to admire their finer qualities anyway.
I’ll be introducing you to some of my favorites over the next indeterminate amount of time, over on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us, if you would be so kind: @sickpilgrim on Twitter, sickpilgrimpress on Instagram. We’d love to hear what you think.