Dostoevsky, Peguy, and Bernanos have done far more to elevate the role of the saints in Christianity than theologians and hagiographers. They have insisted that, paradoxically, in the night of modernity and the contempt of Christian piety, it is the saints who constitute a powerfully effective form of eloquence that can persuade of the truth of Christianity.
Saints by the nature of the case are excessive. Their measure is no measure. Thus, their “foolishness.” Francis is a glorious example, perhaps Joan of Arc. Yet examples abound. Saints are given to the Church as shocks to the accepted way in which Christ is followed and to the world, as signs that when it comes to faith, hope, and charity, enough is never enough: one can hold a belief more firmly and trust more deeply; one can hope against all hope; and love beyond all that is possible for a human being. Perhaps with Kierkegaard we need to remind what scripture has told us clearly: what is impossible for a human being is not impossible for God.
Theology depends far more on holiness than holiness on theology. Neither cleverness, nor intellectual brilliance are sufficient to make a theologian. The gifts of knowing are actualized only when the theologian has been opened up to God in conversion. Though there may be a difference in the language used, here the Swiss theologian and Lonergan are of like mind.
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor