(that is, officially declared saints andworthy of public veneration) butalso for those holy men and womenwho may not yet be officially recognized as such. But the use of theterm in that way has a distinguishedbackground. Saint Paul, for example,employed the same word to referto his early Christian companions.“To the saints who are in Ephesus,”begins one letter (Eph. 1:1). “To thechurch of God that is in Corinth,” hewrites in another, “including all thesaints throughout Achaia . . . .” ( 2Cor. 1:1).
Live the call to holiness
At some point in their lives, eachsaint realized that God was callinghim or her to be faithful in a particular way. Each saint was placed ina different situation and time. Eachhad a different personality and dealtwith life differently. And each relatedto God a little differently. Just thinkof the astonishing variety of saints.And I don’t mean simply when theylived, what they did, where theywere from, or what languages theyspoke. I mean something more basic:who they were and how they livedout their call to holiness.
Some examples: Though both oftheir lives were rooted and groundedin God, Thomas Merton’s approachto life resembled very little that ofSaint Aloysius Gonzaga, a youngJesuit who lived in 16th-centuryRome. Merton was forever questioning his vow of stability, his placein the monastery, and his vocationas a Trappist, until the end of his
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life. Aloysius Gonzaga, on the otherhand, the scion of a noble family,seemed always to have known precisely what he wanted to do—that is,become a Jesuit—from childhood.
At a young age Aloysius had to battle
both his father and his brother to
convince them to allow him to enter
the Jesuit novitiate. Merton only had
to battle himself. Merton’s vocation
seemed always to waver. Aloysius’
Or consider Saint Thérèse ofLisieux, the French Carmelite, andDorothy Day, the American apostleof social justice and founder of theCatholic Worker movement. Thérèserealized that God had called her to