5 November 2021

Saints and saints: some random thoughts
by Maggie Cascioli

Sometimes I think the word ‘holy' or ‘saint’ should be a verb – the sort of happening/encounter that we all recognise and hopefully step into. 

On one occasion when Thomas Merton was waiting at a crossing in New York, he had a moment of great clarity and thought: "Who will tell all these people they are shining like the stars?"  It’s an interesting story from several points of view but the one that is most intriguing is that Merton, in a mixed crowd of the ’good, the bad and the ugly’ made no exceptions!

Sometimes our understanding of holiness can be rigid, we can think we know what to expect … or, worse still, we can think we know exactly what is ‘the best attitude or outcome’ in every situation! Could we be wrong?

Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, was friends with women, both challenged and protected the woman accused of adultery, respected Samaritans, chose a child as an example of those to whom the kindom of God belongs …  Jesus who was angry, wept and laughed, who was condemned because He refused to fit into the narrow conventional ‘purity’/'holiness' of his day, died as a criminal. This same Jesus rose from the dead!  

What of the saints we meet every day? Those who delight and sometimes irritate us? The ones who amaze or infuriate us? What of all those we love deeply and those who love us deeply but for whom we can sometimes be irritating, infuriating? But sometimes we gaze in wonder and delight at the sheer generosity, kindness, integrity, goodness of other human beings…

“All of us gazing with unveiled face on the glory of God, 
are being transformed into the same image that we reflect. 
This is the work of the Lord Who is Spirit.”
   - 2 Cor 3:18

“I sometimes forget that
I was created for joy
My mind is too busy 
My heart is too heavy
For me to remember
That I have been
Called to dance
The sacred dance for life
I was created to smile
To love
To be lifted up 
And lift others up

O Sacred One
Untangle my feet
From all that ensnares
Free my soul
That we might 
And that our dancing 
Might be contagious.

- Hafiz 1315 – 1390

Why not find out more about saints? We recommend you read some of these excellent books or articles:


Maggie is a retired English and RS teacher, school chaplain, and member of Pastoral Team at Aylesford Priory