[Continued from yesterday]
...He will set out to conquer nations or to govern them: he will make himself a leader of men for good or for evil; such we call a general or a statesman. A third is roused to remedy the evils of his time, whether they be real or imagined, religious or political, or social. He forms his theory, he has his own end in view, he multiplies his following; for good or for evil, his mark on the world is permanent. Such a man we call a reformer, or a revolutionist, as the case may be.
Yet a fourth is filled with a craving for that which no deed, or triumph, or reform in the world can give him. He hungers for that which is beyond the world's edge; he must leap out to it, grasp it, and live the life of man towards it; for this end every sacrifice in this world is a negligible quantity. Such a man we call a saint, at least such are the foundations of a saint, and it is on this account that the saints are the greatest among mankind.
They are, we assert, the greatest men among mankind, even judged by man's own standards. For if greatness consists in the violence of one's craving, the object towards which it tends, and the force with which it is followed, then do the saints compare with and surpass all the greatest heroes in the world. In other men the range is avowedly confined to this life and all that it contains; for them the horizon loses itself in the mist of the infinite, their aspirations are infinite in range, infinite in possibilities, and therefore beyond the power of eye to see, or ear to hear, or the heart of man to conceive.
Others have human ends, they make use of human means; these make light of what is human, they take its effects as but the by-product of their labour, and for the means, they "have nothing and possess all things," "glory in their infirmities that the power of God may be manifested in them," take it as their principle that "the weak things of this world hath God chosen to confound the strong."...
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918