On the Mission of the Saints


Von Balthasar starts his work on St. Thérèse and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity with a brief discussion of the role of theologians in looking at the lives of Saints and with an analysis of what it means to be a saint. The excerpt that follows is from the introduction.

from Two Sisters in the Spirit
Hans Urs von Balthasar

In a saint, it is primarily the missiion that is perfect; only secondarily is he himself described as perfect, insofar as he integrates the whole of his gifts and strength into fulfilling his mission. Many have grasped their mission joyfully, taking it, so to speak, on the wing; others have undertaken it hesitatingly, almost reluctantly--but the mission proved too strong and compelled them to serve it. Some, at the cost of their flesh and blood, have allowed its complex demands to lay hold on every single fiber of their persons; others have been content to accept the essential demands, levaing many corners of their selves untouched and empty. For the kingdom of the saints knows many degrees, from the lowest limit, where the integrity of the mission is just preserved, to the highest level of all, where the mission and the person become indistinguishable. The Mother of God alone has reached that level.

I find interesting the notion of lackluster Saints--saints who can be prodded into action, but just barely enough to fulfill their destiny as saints. Even these low level saints (let's call them the "Red Dwarfs" of the saint's world --after those suns that just barely keep lit--far exceed the holiness and perfection of those of us who never even think about what our mission might be, let alone consider fulfilling it.

Anyway, von Balthasar, as usual has given me something to consider quite carefully over the next several hours or days. What is my mission? Who am I in God and how I am I called to share and express that with the Church? In short, how do I become the Saint God wishes for me to be? Not the general contours of that proposal, which are taught by the Church at all times, and for which I direct your attention to Disputations, but rather, what are the specific things, talents, ideas, personality traits, yearnings that God wishes for me to share? And how do I go about sharing these? Questions for all who aspire to love God perfectly and to find His way for them in life.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 7, 2004 7:05 AM.

Review: Bones of the Earth--Michael Swanwick was the previous entry in this blog.

On the Mission of St. Thérèse is the next entry in this blog.

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