“The Saint is a medicine because he is an antidote. Indeed that is why the saint is often a martyr; he is mistaken for a poison because he is an antidote. He will generally be found restoring the world to sanity by exaggerating whatever the world neglects, which is by no means always the same element in every age. Yet each generation seeks its saint by instinct; and he is not what the people want, but rather what the people need. This is surely the very much mistaken meaning of those words to the first saints, “Ye are the salt of the earth…
But salt seasons and preserves beef, not because it is like beef; but because it is very unlike it. Christ did not tell his apostles that they were only the excellent people, or the only excellent people, but that they were the exceptional people; the permanently incongruous and incompatible people; and the text about the salt of the earth is really as sharp and shrewd and tart as the taste of salt. It is because they were the exceptional people, that they must not lose their exceptional quality.
“If salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?” is a much more pointed question than any mere lament over the price of the best beef.
If the world grows too worldly, it can be rebuked by the Church; but if the Church grows too worldly, it cannot be adequately rebuked for worldliness by the world.
Therefore it is the paradox of history that each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most…
In a world that was too stolid, Christianity returned in the form of a vagabond; in a world that has grown a great deal too wild, Christianity has returned in the form of a teacher of logic. In the world of Herbert Spencer men wanted a cure for indigestion; in the world of Einstein they want a cure for vertigo.
—- St. Thomas Aquinas by G.K. Chesterton
The Saints were anything but delicate, anything but effeminate. A Saint who is not tough could not really be a saint at all. Joan of Arc showed mystic toughness without losing her femininity in the least. And her men never lost sight of that fact, — especially in battle.
“No crime, however heinous, can be committed or even conceived which the Church has not power to forgive, just as there is no sinner, however abandoned, however depraved, who should not confidently hope for pardon, provided he sincerely repent of his past transgressions. Furthermore, the exercise of this power is not restricted to particular times. Whenever the sinner turns from his evil ways he is not to be rejected, as we learn from the reply of our Savior to the Prince of the Apostles. When St. Peter asked how often we should pardon an offending brother, whether seven times, Not only seven times, said the Redeemer, but till seventy times seven.” — (Catechism of the Council of Trent)
“Have you sinned? Go into church and wipe out your sin. As often as you might fall down in the marketplace, you pick yourself up again. So too, as often as you sin, repent your sin. Do not despair. Even if you sin a second time, repent a second time. Do not by any indifference lose hope entirely of the good things prepared.
“Even if you are in extreme old age and have sinned, go in, repent! For here there is a physician’s office, not a courtroom; not a place where punishment of sin is exacted but where the forgiveness of sin is granted.” — (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)
“If someone, at the Devil’s prompting, had committed every sin against God and then, with true contrition and the intention of amendment, truly repented these sins and humbly, with burning love, asked God for mercy, there is no doubt that the kind and merciful God Himself would immediately be as ready to receive that person back into His grace with great joy and happiness as would be a loving father who saw returning to him his only, dearly beloved son, now freed from a great scandal and a most shameful death.” (St. Bridget of Sweden)
“What does ignorance of God beget us? Despair! A man who ponders all the evil he has done becomes anxious about himself. If he does not know how good and forgiving the Lord is, how willing to forgive and welcome him back, he falls into despair and becomes impenitent. He does not realize that Omnipotent Goodness could manage all his affairs, not wanting anyone to perish but that the sinner could be converted and live.” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)