The Common Good
January-February 1998

Everyday Saints

by Greg Rolland | January-February 1998

THANKS FOR providing consistently vital articles and commentary. With
limited time for magazine reading, you are my one and only regular subscription.

THANKS FOR providing consistently vital articles and commentary. With limited time for magazine reading, you are my one and only regular subscription. And since moving to the West Coast (where Sojourners is not so well known as in Washington, D.C.) I have been pleased to introduce it to friends and interested others.

Robert Ellsberg’s article on sainthood, "The Mystery of Holiness" (September-October 1997), threw me back in my seat and made me exclaim "That’s it!" As a young person I have been struggling with the impression of my peers that the church is ancient and anachronistic, a grandfather clock in an Indiglo world. The distance I felt from my church as I was growing up I think had a lot to do with holiness as something untouchable, a relic of great men and women of the past whose superhuman inclinations earned them the title "saint."

Now, with Ellsberg’s nudging, I can look for holiness, or "saintliness," in the people of my ordinary life. And suddenly I find holiness, something I never considered a widespread quality, everywhere! Saints exist today and are nearby. Their presence challenges us with the extraordinary possibilities of our ordinary existence. And they are both of the same material and a far cry from their stained-glass predecessors. Let’s seek out and honor the saints of our communities, no canonization required.

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