Tuesday, March 4, 2014

William Stringfellow on Sainthood.

"Becoming and being a saint does not mean being perfect but being whole; it does not not mean being exceptionally religious, or being religious at all, it means being liberated from religiosity and religious pietism of any sort; it does not mean being morally better, it means being exemplary; it does not mean being godly, but rather being truly human; it does not mean being otherworldly, but it means being deeply implicated in the practical existence of this world without succumbing to this world or any aspect of this world, no matter how beguiling. Being holy means a radical self-knowledge; a sense of who one is, a consciousness of one's identity so thorough that it is no longer confused with the identities of others, of persons or of any creatures or of God or of any idols. 

For human beings, relief and remedy from such profound confusion concerning a person's own identity and the identity and character of the Word of God becomes the indispensable and authenticating ingredient of being holy, and it is the most crucial aspect of becoming mature--or of being fulfilled--as a human in this world, in fallen creation. This is, at the same time, the manner through which humans can live humanly, in sanity and conscience, in the fallen world as it is. And these twin faculties, sanity and conscience--rather than some sentimental or pietistic or self-serving notion of moral perfection--constitute the usual marks of sanctification. That which distinguishes the saint is not eccentricity but sanity, not perfection but conscience." 

--William Stringfellow, from The Politics of Spirituality 

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