We think of saints as those extraordinary people who maintain kindness in response to mean-spiritedness; who act with courage when filled with fear; who are generous in spite of self-interest; who maintain their poise in the face of uncertainty, confusion, and turmoil; who keep their cheer in the midst of pain.
But a saint does not become so by seeking to be a saint, or even by seeking to be any of these things. The one who becomes a saint is intent on seeking something else entirely and becomes a saint completely unaware. In fact, saints do not recognize themselves as saints at all.
Deep within everything and everyone is the memory that it has come from God. God, in every religion, is the One from whom all things come, in whom all exist, to whom all return. There is nothing that is that did not come from God. This memory cannot be erased because it is the ultimate Truth of all things, it is of the essence of God, in whom all things "live and move and have their being". It can be covered over and forgotten, but it cannot be removed or broken.
This memory is like a great love song permeating the entire Universe, singing through every particle and vibrating within every molecule. The original love story of God and the human soul is the persistent memory etched deep in the heart of every child that is born. And every life is the longing search to find that story, to hear the song, to enter that first Love and never leave.
Yet how quickly we forget, how easily we gather other things to love, how much we want, and want and want. And all that we desire is always temporary and passing, it is never that Thing We Cannot Name, that calls to us incessantly from the core of our being.
What might happen if we should begin one day to ignore all the other desires clamoring for our attention, and quietly turn our minds and hearts to call out to the One our deepest souls remember. What might each of our solitary lives become if we could begin to sing back into the very heart of all things, “We wish to return to Love, let us come home, teach us to sing the First Song again.” Could we have the courage to keep wanting that more than any other desire? Would we pursue it with the passion of our life? What might life become if our soul began to answer the song at the heart of all things and remember where it came from.
Saints, in all religions, are driven by the inner memory of the indelible truth that exists eternally at the heart of everything and everyone. They have set aside all other desires except the longing for God; they make their souls a home for God; they live in God, for God, with God. Nothing else matters as much as God. There is an old saying: “first you must give up all that is not good, then give up all that is good, then give up all that is not God”.
In every religion and in every spiritual path there are those who have abandoned all else for the wonderful mystery of finding God.