30. SAINTS ARE MADE, NOT BORN!

 

"The first human, Adam, became a living soul; the second Adam became a life-giving spirit. So what was natural came first, and the spiritual came later." (1 Corinthians 15:46 - revised)

In modern life, spiritual formation - based on a complete regime of spiritual growth - is difficult to obtain. This is why we can say that in two things in particular the inner or psychological approach to Christianity differs from normal ˜legalistic' Christianity. This is why stories of escape from the machine mind - told as hagiography; the literature concerning the making of saints - are not simply remarkable, they are essentially practical, and serve as living models to teach the developmental process.

The first special characteristic of inner Christianity is based on the observation that in our times we don't see many saints around. The observation underlying this rather facile statement is that many years of investigation have convinced me of the fact, mentioned in my previous book, that saints are not born holy, they are made holy. To be more precise, they are self-made, with the help of God, or made by God in a way that involves long and intense individual efforts - a personal participation that makes the process a true self-therapy. But now that nobody tries any more to make the great efforts that can make them into saints, it is not surprising there are so few saints around.

The second difference in this view of sainthood is the observation that saints are not, as some people seem to imagine, protected people, living a life of sweetness and light, and cut off from the turmoil of humanity. It would be more true to describe them, even more than the great names of science, as the cutting edge of expanding human consciousness. Saint Gregory of Nyssa, one of the famous Cappadocian Fathers, described Saint Basil the Great - his elder brother - as being a man set apart by God: he had, said Saint Gregory, been led by God to personally face all the situations of the human life of his time - so that he would know what to teach those around him.