Aaron Harburg

Saints as Models


A problem many modern Catholics face with spiritualities focusing on saints is that these figures are the moral equivalent of a fashion supermodel. The attempt to emulate them can be far more self-destructive than the attempts to physically follow supermodels. Largely because the stakes are higher and more essential to what we are. 

Neo-platonism has a lot to offer, but these supposedly concrete exemplars, decontextualized with sanitized narratives intended to be inspiring often become depressing or causes of social and psychological anorexia. Semipelagianism abounds in the individualistic consumeristic and capitalistic climate such as our own. I believe we can learn more from how saints have sinned than from how they have succeeded. You’ll find it wasn’t by the bootstrapping found in American mythology. For in the cause of their redemption we discover the aim of their existence, namely divine unmerited grace flowing from infinite Love. There are no hacks to holiness, only perseverance and abandonment to divine mercy.