In the previous post, I mentioned the teaching of Jesus that only a few find the road that leads to life, and the poem of Kabir ending with the line “The true path is rarely found.” I suggested that the few who make the rare accomplishment of finding the true path are called saints. I will now elaborate on this.
The Greek word translated as “saint” in some New Testament versions is “hagios,” which means “set apart, holy, sacred.” Hagios is also used as an adjective, translated as “holy.” When the apostle Paul greeted the Christians in Rome in Romans 1:7, he used hagios. Curiously, the New American Standard Bible translates the word as “saints,” while the more recent New International Version uses the phrase “holy people.” The Bible called the Temple hagios, as it was set apart for a different purpose than other buildings. The Bible called the city of Jerusalem hagios, as it contained the Temple, which was hagios, while other cities did not.
I believe many Christians would agree to calling themselves holy in the sense of “set apart for a different purpose.” I believe many Christians would agree to calling themselves holy in the sense of “being a container for something holy.” Some Christians would go with both senses. On the other hand, very few Christians would claim to having gotten to the end of the narrow road which leads to life. Many Christians claim to be working on entering through the small gate, and working on walking on the narrow road.
While I accept the claim Christians make of being “in development” or “under construction,” I’m unwilling to call someone who’s still in development a saint. The Catholics have stricter conditions, as they realize that people they canonize will be emulated as role models. On the other hand, a Catholic saint is not just an exemplary person of impeccable character, but also someone who has had an encounter with the mysterious, the miraculous, the inexplicable, in their life.
I don’t claim to be very literate regarding Catholic saints, but one Catholic saint who resonates for me is St. Joan of Arc (1412-1431).
When I think of her, my soul rings and sings with the thought “Ah, the real deal! The real McCoy! The genuine article!” Perhaps I will go into the details of her life in another post, but for now, I merely wish to offer her as an instance of someone who found the road that leads to life, someone who found the true path which is so rarely found.
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