“The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint.” ~ Leon Bloy
There are many things that are treated as tragedy: missing a flight, not getting a promotion, losing a job, et cetera. While some of the things people consider tragedies can be painful or uncomfortable, they do not really measure up to tragedy level. A true tragedy causes great suffering or distress and is generally on the level of natural catastrophes, life-threatening accidents, sudden death of a young and presumably healthy person, and the like.
Bloy tells us that there is only one real tragedy: not to be a saint. In many ways, that is absolutely true. The other kinds of tragedies can often be overcome. We can find some kind of meaning in them. We can adapt, change our ways, or improve.
But, if we reject the invitation to become a saint, we reject God Himself. Rejecting God’s invitation is a tragedy of epic proportion because it is eternal. There is no turning back from rejecting the invitation to be a saint.
We often think of saints as being valiant people who could not possibly be imitated. However, their paths to sanctity were often the same as our opportunities. They made daily decisions to do what was right. Their often small decisions just kept building until the momentum started pulling them closer to God day by day. That doesn’t mean that they never had choices. Each day there were presented with choices — temptation — to turn from God. Their will was stronger than the temptations, though, and they overcame them.
Some saints were quite valiant. They sacrificed themselves for the sake of others. They lived larger than life. Those saints, though, are really few and far between. The typical saint just did his or her best each and every day.
We can all be saints. We are all called to be saints. The only thing that will prevent us from becoming a saint is our own self. That, indeed, would be a tragedy.
FAITH ACTION: Live your life today as the “saint in the making” that you are.