Excerpt: Cardinal Newman, we believe, exhorted us all to make our sacrifices for God while we are young before the calculating selfishness of old age gets hold of us. Still it may not be quite clear to the inquiring mind why the desperate difficulties of sainthood can be truthfully viewed in the light of a breathless adventure. Learn, then, the great secret. The love of God in the heart is the magical light which touches the dreariness and hardship of self-thwarting with a splendor of sublime Romance. You cannot have holiness without love. Holiness can be either greater nor less than the love of God. Let this love faint or grow cold, there is at once a loss of holiness, even though it retain all its external gear. This is a cardinal truth; it is a key which will solve many a puzzle. It will explain why fanatics and similar oddities are not Saints, though secular history sometimes honors them with the title. Merely concede that the Saint possesses love for God in an extraordinary measure and degree, and it is the most comprehensible thing in the world that he will not only accept all tests of his love readily, but will go forth in search of them with eager alacrity. First and last and always the only keen satisfaction of great love, whether human or divine, is to welcome opportunities of proving itself in some heroic form of courage and endurance. Danger, suffering, battling against odds, discouragement, overwork, pain of mind and body, failure, want of recognition, rebuffs, contempt and persecution, are no longer the subject matter of a strong-jawed stoicism or a submissive patience but rather the quickening bread and wine of an intense and high-keyed life. This is why the Saints, be the provocation ever so great, never develop nerves, or experience those melancholy and humiliating reactions which are the natural ebb-tide of spiritual energies. This is why Saints can fast and keep their temper sweet, can wear hair-shirts without cultivating wry faces, can be passed by in the distribution of honors without being soured, can pray all night without robbing the day of its due meed of cheerfulness, can rise superior to frailties and weaknesses without despising those who cannot, can be serious without being testy and morose, can live for years in a cell or a desert or a convent-close without perishing of ennui or being devoured by restlessness, and can mingle with life, where all its currents meet, without losing their heads or swerving a hairbreadth from the straight line of a most uncommon and most impressive kind of common sense. Unless we keep before our eyes this mainspring of a Saint’s life, that life will be as enigmatical to us as it is to the world. Jesus balked at no test of the love which He bore towards us: nay, He devised tests passing all human imagining. Let Him make trial of our love for Him! We are unhappy till He does! And with this daring spirit in his heart every Saint enters upon a career of Romance in its sweetest and highest form. And, we submit, to recur to the literary style of the following biography, Romance is light-hearted, light-stepping, cheerful, with the starlight on its face and in its eyes.
William T Kane S.J., Paperback Lrg edition, ISBN 10: 150042336X, ISBN 13: 9781500423360