“In the Gospels, we don’t see Jesus getting upset with the sinners. We see Him getting upset only with those who do not think they are sinners.” – Rev. Richard Rohr
Saints and sinners: a theme of hope, compassion and forgiveness.
I think Oscar Wilde was on to something here.
Saints with pasts? Fact or fiction, history suggests that St. Paul, who wrote a large section of the Bible’s New Testament was a fundamentalist Jewish zealot (think religious-based vigilante) who hunted and killed lots of early Christians. As a teenager, St. Margaret of Cortona, Italy was very fond of lots of sex with many local boys becoming an upper-class mistress at 17. St. Vladimir murdered his oldest brother.
St. Olga decided to revenge her husband’s murderers by ordering the complete blood-bath slaughter of the entire family/tribe responsible for his death. St. Mary of Egypt apparently was a street prostitute. St. Callixtus of Rome was a convicted felon (twice)… he was quite fond of embezzlement.
St. Moses the Ethiopian/Egyptian ran a violent gang. St. Camillus de Lellis was a notorious con man, mercenary and very fond of gambling. St. Dismas was a thief. St. Fabiola enjoyed bigamy. St. Augustine’s bad boy confessions are the stuff of classic literature.
Let’s not forget the Old Testament’s King David took Bathsheba (think: lusted for; coveted; fornicated with; and finally had her husband killed to have her all to himself). And in keeping with this blog’s spirit of interfaith, consider that legends hold that the Tibetan Buddhist Saint, Jetson Milarepa, killed 35 people at a family party through his black magic.
Sinners with futures? Yeah… me for sure.
I am not talking judgement here. Not good/evil… right/wrong… moral/immoral.
I am talking about the ever present opportunity to change. Change thinking. Change feeling. Change believing. Change behavior.
Change. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Fence-mending. Transformation. Repair. Conversion. Making up. Fixing. Second chances.
Becoming a saint starts today.