December 29, 2011
Writing Assignment 1
There is a significant difference between the kind of story that is told about heroes and the kind of story that is told about saints. The hero always makes a decisive intervention when things are looking like they could go wrong. The hero always steps up and makes everything right. The hero is always the center of attention by contrast the saint is not necessarily a crucial character. The saint may be almost invisible easily missed, quickly forgotten. The hero and the saint are always at the periphery of a story that is really about God. The hero’s strength, wisdom, or great timing: such are the qualities on which the hero’s decisive intervention rests. On the other hand, the saint may not have any great qualities. The saint may not be strong, brave, clever or opportunistic, but the saint is faithful. The hero is rejoiced in valor while the saint celebrates faith. The icon of heroism is the soldier; the icon of sanctity is the martyr. The soldier faces death by not going to battle. The soldier’s heroism is its own reward. The martyr’s sanctity makes no sense unless rewarded by God. It is the heroes decisive intervention that makes the story come out right. Without the hero all would be lost, so if the hero makes a mistake or exposes a serious flaw, it is a disaster. Unlike the saint who expects to fail. If the saint’s failures are honest ones, they merely highlight the wonder of God’s great victory. If the saint’s failures are less admirable ones, they open up the cycle of repentance, forms of forgiveness, and restoration. The hero stands alone against the world. The story of the hero shows how he or she stands out from the community by the excellence of his or her virtue; the decisiveness of his or her intervention or the simple right to have his or her story told. The story of God tells how he expects a response from his disciples that they cannot give on their own. They depend...