Don’t think for a second they weren’t real.
Saints were very much real people. We’re too used to thinking of them in terms of the smiling, gentle statues in the back of church where we throw in a couple of coins looking for a little assistance. “Hey St. Anthony, can you help a brother out? I’m tryin’ to find a wife.”
Or perhaps we only think of saints based on stories in our books which sometimes make them seem almost superhuman. “While still in his mother’s womb, St. ‘So and So’ began preaching the Gospel, converting the entire Roman Empire in utero. He was formally declared a saint upon birth.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make fun of saints (or saint books). In my own, often pathetic way, I’m trying to be one. (Emphasis mine.)
But I do think that sometimes we tend to think of saints as a different species from us. Like they were aliens who just happen to live among us. Or they were regular before they were bitten by a radio-active, holiness spider.
On the other hand, it’s not altogether wrong to say they were super-human. Why? Because their lives were powered by supernatural grace from God. They were incredible people because they allowed God to be their strength. They knew they couldn’t do it on their own. They struggled with temptation and vice just like us. So they asked for help.
Remember that except for Mary, saints weren’t born sinless. They just wanted to be holy more than anything else. They were regular humans who sought superhuman grace to overcome their frailties.
And the same grace that made them saints is the same grace that can make us saints.
So take heart, my friends. Even if your attempts to become holy in Christ sometimes feel as pathetic as mine, we know that “with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) Someday, somebody might read an incredible saint story about you! (And we all know you’re real!)