The Secular Saint in the Modern World

Topics: Meaning of life, Gallup's List of Widely Admired People, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 2 (694 words) Published: October 25, 2014

Donna Smolenski
dsmolenski4003@gmail.comTESC, May 2013
Elements in the Life and Works of the Secular Saint
The element that I found the most captivating in regards to Simone Weil would be her utter devotion to non-conformity. This unique and intelligent woman did not let the thoughts or words of others deny her from voicing her strong opinions. In a world historically dominated by male authoritative figures, she was a force to be reckoned with. In large part due to her active efforts to promote trade union politics, as well as, worker education. At the same time, Simone Weil was also exhibiting strong traits that we have come to associate with the way of the saint. She was fully open to the mystery of the question of meaningful human existence. In the last five years of her life, she experienced a spiritual “awakening”, if you will, stating that she came to know God’s love as intimately as the smile of a friend. In the end, it was through reading the Christian Gospels, that Weil discovered the utter simplicity of faith and came to recognize this state of being as what she had been searching for her entire life. Both Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa clearly exhibited elements of both the hero and the saint, making them perfect examples of the “secular saint”. In one of MLK’s most famous writings, a letter from the Birmingham Jail, he shows both the Christian spirit of agape; and the arête, drawn directly from the heroic virtue of citizenship. One did not have to look very hard to see both elements of the hero and the saint in the life of Mother Teresa, as she made the conscience decision, much as a saint would, that she would deny Jesus nothing that he asked of her. However, as was with the heroic identity, Mother Teresa struggled internally to understand her meaning in life and what Jesus wanted from her. Within the genre of cinema, I found many examples given by Professor Ambrosio, to effectively portray...
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