Thursday, 1 November 2012
All Saints Day
My only-slightly mispent early youth on the Isle of Wight was spent in no small part at discos. These were very much the in thing for your Isle of Wight teenager: people had them for their birthdays, schools put them on for special events. This was during the 1980s. The rest of the world had been into discos about ten years previously, and had by now moved onto other things. But this was, as I say, the Isle of Wight.
One of the the bands whose music one danced to most often at your Isle of Wight disco was the Communards. A synth-pop duo, one member of this has subsequently been ordained as a priest. I mention this because Fr Richard Coles, as he is called, has just released a book - Lives of the Improbable Saints. He has been trailing this on the Internet for some months, and I've been following it avidly. We learn about saints who sat on pillars, saints who annoyed everybody around them, saints who undertook the most absurdly pathological penances, saints who (apparently) levitated, and so on.
The saints canonised by Holy Mother Church were, on the evidence of this book, a bunch of weirdos. But they were God's Holy Weirdos.
And there's the point - frail, funny, things that human beings are, God calls us as we are, with our quirky personalities, peculiarities, weaknesses, and strengths. Warts and all God calls us to holiness, that is, to wholeness. God calls us as we are to, through his grace, be the people we were always created to be.
The saints recognised by the Church are a sign that this is possible, that God's grace can be triumphant in people like you and me. May they pray for us as we continue on our journey, growing into the people God calls us to be.