The Table Video

Peter Kreeft

Becoming a Saint: The Practical Psychology of Sanctity

Professor of Philosophy, Boston College
November 17, 2013

Philosopher Peter Kreeft (Boston College) asks whether becoming a saint is our summum bonum (our ‘highest good’), and he reflects on the resources of pre-modern and modern psychology.

Transcript:

Thank you all for coming. And thank Sandals Church for your hospitality. But I don’t really know why you invited me to come to talk about sanctity. What do I know about that? My only plea is that those who live in the valley can see and appreciate the mountain better than those who live halfway up the mountain. [audience laughing] But then Jesus in effect divided all of mankind into two kinds of people, saints who know that they’re sinners and sinners who think that they’re saints. [audience laughing] Like pharisees and pop psychologists. My favorite philosopher, Socrates, did something similar on the intellectual level. He divided all of mankind into fools who think that they’re wise and the wise who know that they’re fools. Well, I am certainly not an expert on sanctity.

In fact, I think that there are no experts on sanctity. So my first question is, why is that so? I take a leaf from one of my favorite philosophers, Gabriel Marcel. His most famous and enduring idea is the distinction between two kinds of questions, especially philosophical questions. It’s an answer to the question, how come philosophers like scientists solve some of their questions and make at least some progress. And on some of the questions, they don’t. That’s a question that worried Rene Descartes, the founder of modern philosophy at the beginning of his landmark book, a Discourse on Method. He says since reason is equal in all mankind, if we only use the right method, we should be able to come to the same conclusions and overcome philosophical differences once and for all as the sciences are doing, even in his day. Why has that not happened? Why are philosophers still just as much in disagreement?

Why are theologians just as much in disagreement now as they ever were? Unlike each of the sciences? Well Marcel’s answer is that some questions are problems and some are mysteries. And that doesn’t mean simply that some questions can be solved and some questions can’t. Or that some questions can be defined and clarified very easily and some questions can’t. It’s deeper than that. Why are some questions not able to be finally resolved to everybody’s satisfaction? For instance, psychologists can say a lot about the process of falling in love. But they cannot explain or predict why Romeo will fall in love with Juliet. Why did Dante fall in love with Beatrice? Nobody expected that. That’s like the Red Sox World Championship. [audience laughing] It’s almost miraculous. Beatrice was plain Jane. Dante saw her everyday under his window, running errands for her father who was a cloth merchant. And one day he simply saw her differently. What was the cause of that? Was it a literal miracle? Did the sky part and a bolt of lightning enter his brain? No. But was it predictable? No, it wasn’t. Falling in love. That’s a very strange thing.

There are aspects of it that psychology can tell you about. Patterning from parents, from friends, from siblings, chemistry. But despite that, you can’t predict it. That would be like predicting what Shakespeare’s gonna say in Hamlet from an exhaustive knowledge of the alphabet. Here’s another question that philosophers have never solved. The problem of evil. Why is there evil? My question is not how can you reconcile the existence of evil with a good God. There are very good answers to that. But why is there evil at all? What motivates evil? I ask myself that question. And even when I look at my own most intimate experience, I don’t understand myself. I identify very much with Paul in Roman seven. He said, I don’t understand my own behavior. The goods that I want to do, I don’t do. And the evil that I don’t want to do, that’s what I do. Every moral choice we ever make is a choice that God offers to us because He’s given us free will.

And you can use this image for that choice. God imagined him as having two hands, a right hand and a left hand. In His right hand is obedience to his will. In His left hand is disobedience. And since we have free will, we can always say yes or no. God is gentleman. The one thing that God cannot do is rape is a human soul. He can seduce it, He can make love it but He will not rape, He will not force. Now, every time we have chosen His right hand, we receive joy. Real joy, deep down joy, permanent joy, lasting joy. Deep satisfying joy, in the long run. Every time we have chosen His left hand, we have found misery.

So, the next choice that He offers us, will you have the secret of joy which is my will be done. Or will you have the secret of misery which is my will be done. C.S. Lewis says that shattering line in the Great Divorce. There are only two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, thy will be done. And those to whom God says, my will be done. All right, we know that every single time we’ve chosen the right hand, we found joy. And every time we’ve chosen the left hand, we found misery. So, why do we sin? Why do we say, gee God, that’s a tough one. Gee, I’m tempted, you know. I know I shouldn’t choose the left hand but let me try it, maybe it’ll work this time. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result the next time. We’re all insane. [audience laughing] The human race is insane. That’s empirical proof of original sin. Now why? It’s a mystery, we’re nuts. Insanity isn’t rational. By definition, it isn’t rational.

So philosophers will never solve the problem of evil. But if they won’t solve the problem of evil, they won’t solve the problem of good either. At least in its supreme form, sanctity, the best and the holiest among us. Why did they choose that? Why did they choose more good than most of us? How can you explain that? Well, Marcel says the difference between a problem and a mystery is that a problem can be objectified. A mystery cannot. We cannot solve the problem of evil because we are the problem of evil. He says, a mystery is a problem that encroaches upon its own data, invading them as it were and transcending that dualism between subject and object which is the heritage of Descartes and that haunts the whole modern mind. If it’s out there, you can use the scientific method on it. In so far as it’s in here, you can’t because in here means the self, the I. Science analyzes and you have to analyze the complex into the simple and science does a wonderful job of that especially when they use mathematics which is the prime tool of analysis.

But the I is the skinniest word in the language. It has no parts. You have no parts. Oh, you have a body and a soul but the soul has no parts. It has powers, faculties. It doesn’t have parts, it’s one. You can’t cut your soul in half. You don’t lose a part of your soul when you get a haircut. The I is simply I, it’s incapable of analysis. So the fundamental mystery is that little word I which is the image of God because God’s self-revealed name, the one time God named Himself rather than letting us name Him and when we name Him, we named Him in ways relative to ourself. Creator, Redeemer, Lord, Father, God. He’s not his own God. He’s not his own redeemer. What is he in Himself? Well no religious Jew will ever answer that question because the answer is the word that God alone can utter. I am. The word that came from the burning bush to Moses.

And the other word, I can objectify, Herman. Who’s Herman? An object, third person. But I, I can’t say there’s I, third person. I can’t get out of my I. So whatever has the I essentially in it is a mystery rather than a problem.

This I think is why reductive materialism is so popular among the scientific elite. I remember having a long discussion with a philosopher at MIT many, many years ago about whether there was such a thing as a human self. He was a Humean. David Hume said there are no substances and therefore there is no substantial self. There’s just thoughts and feelings that happen to occur together in time and space. And he believed that. And I was trying to argue calm and sensibly because he was a very intelligent man that at least the word I was meaningful. He said it wasn’t. All words referring to human consciousness were strictly meaningless. It was just a useful convention that we use them and we went at it for three or four hours. And we made absolutely no progress whatsoever. And I was appalled. I said surely we should be able to understand each other but I think after those three or four hours we understood other even less.

His last words are I still haven’t the faintest glimmering of an idea what you and philosophers like you mean by the word I. Well, that reduces everything to a problem. And there’s a great temptation to do that. Because if we can reduce things to a problem, we can conquer them. We can solve them, we can predict them, we can control them. And that’s what science is very good at. And you want to expand what you’re very good at. And you don’t want to expand what you’re not very good at. But what you’re not very good at is being that perfect I. I think Marcel’s distinction between problem and mystery explains why of the three persons of the holy trinity, the Holy Spirit is the most mysterious. As C.S. Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity, which I’ve come to realize is a much profounder theological book than it seems.

Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s also not profound. The Bible is both. He says, God the father is the being that transcends yourself to whom you pray and God the son is the being that bridges the gap between you and God, the being along whom you pray. But the Holy Spirit is the one inside you and behind you that’s prompting you to pray. And just as you don’t see the sun when it’s behind you when casting a shadow, you don’t see the Holy Spirit. In a very over simplified way, you could summarize all of salvation history in three stages. In the Old Testament, God reveals Himself as the God above us that transcends us. God the Father. In the New Testament, because of His love and love seeks intimacy, He attains the intimacy of becoming one of us. Christ, holy man, as well as holy God, our brother. Like us in all things but sin. But that’s not enough.

When he says to His disciples, it’s good for you that I go away because if I don’t go away, I won’t send the Holy Spirit. And that’s much better. Better to have the Holy Spirit here than Jesus here. We still don’t believe that. If you could advertise that Jesus Christ himself, literally, in person, visibly would appear at Sandals Church tonight, you’d get millions of people. You’d get people trampling to come. But Jesus himself says that’s not so great. It’s much better what you have. Why? Why is it better that He goes away? By the ascension and sends the Holy Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is inside you. Not just outside you and not just beside you but inside you. That’s a maximum intimacy. It’s like being haunted. It’s like being possessed but not by a demon. But you see you can’t objectify that. Well, this very distinction between problem and mystery which I think is crucial, raises a great question for you psychologists. Does that mean psychology can’t be a science? In so far as phycology is the study of the human psyche which if not the whole self is certainly at the center of the self. It seems like that’s the one thing you can’t objectify but science has to objectify.

So is all of psychology a fake science? No less a thinker than C.S. Lewis at least suggests something like that, especially in the novel, That Hideous Strength, where one of his sympathetic characters, Hingest, the martyred chemist who gets murdered by the N.I.C.E. is having a brief discussion with Mark Studdock, the confused protagonist, and he says, I joined this because I thought it had something to do with science, but I found out that it doesn’t. And mark says, oh yes it does. In fact, I’m a part of it. I’m a sociologist. And Hingest says, sociologist, I’m talking about science. There’s no such thing as the science of sociology. Why? Well, sociology is about people. You can’t know people scientifically. You can only get to know them.

Now, I think Lewis was pointing to a problem there but in so far as his advocating the solution, I think he’s wrong. Sociology is a science and there can be unsociologist. And there can be unpsychologist. You can study human beings, either individually or collectively. And you can study certainly human behavior individually and collectively. And we’ve learned a lot from those sciences. But how’s that possible? If they deal with the human self and the self is a non-objectionable subject? Well I think Lewis on to something. In so far as what you’re dealing with is subjective and not objectifiable, you can’t deal with it by the scientific method. You have to deal with it by another kind of knowing entirely, intuitive knowing.

Most languages have distinctions that English doesn’t have especially in important words like to know. In German, there’s kennen and wissen. In French, there’s connaitre and savoir. Wissenschaft is science, The savant is someone who has savior, expertise knowledge. Can you be an expert in this? Well, if it’s a problem, if it’s objectifiable, yes, there are experts in it. But there are some things that you can know only by kennen, my acquaintance not by description. Imagine you have two friends, one of them is very simple minded not very educated, not very bright but loves you so dearly that they would instantly die for you without a thought. The other is the world’s greatest psychologist, brilliant scientist, good honest open-minded person. But doesn’t love you, doesn’t care about you. But is interested in using you as a guinea pig. And he wants to interview you an hour a day, five days a week for the next 10 years. And he’s gonna write a 5000 page tome based on you as his main case study. So he knows every in and out of your personality. He knows a 1000 times more than your friend does. Now, who knows you the best? Who knows you? Your friend. No contest.

On the other hand, who knows the most about you. Obviously the psychologist. See, two kinds of knowing. So there are limits to psychology and sociology which there are not to the natural sciences. When you look at a stone, the stone doesn’t say, I’m gonna hide from you. When you look at a fly, the fly tries to hide from you. And you might try to swat it and it flies away. But you can outwit it. And you can figure out why it flies away. When you try to tame a dog, it’s a little more complicated. The dog might not trust you. And you have to somehow get its trust. But there are dog whisperers who can almost infallibly overcome that problem.

There are no human whisperers that can over come the problem of mistrust, either horizontally or vertically. Not even the Holy Spirit himself, can without overcoming and denying human free will, infallibly guarantee that his whisperers are going to be answered by a yes rather than a no. That’s why there are essential limits to psychology and evening sociology. Well then what can psychology do? Specifically what can modern psychology do? Well it can do a lot of things that ancient psychology can’t do. It’s much more sophisticated. It’s much more scientific. We have much more data. And in philosophy as in science, I think the theory has to be tested by the data. It’s just the data are much more complex. So certainly, we’ve made enormous progress since the days of Aristotle or even Aquinas.

On the other hand, there’s something that we can learn better from the ancients than from the moderns even in these sciences because they are though not nearly as much in touch with the problem aspects, usually more in touch with the mystery aspects. We don’t speak in ordinary language of modern wisdom. We speak in ancient wisdom very easily. We speak of modern knowledge. And that’s the kind of Freudian slip. That’s the unconscious language use that shows that we really believe that although we can’t learn that much knowledge from the ancients, we can learn a lot of wisdom. Ah yes, but, if you wanna be empirical, if you wanna learn from the data of experience, you prefer the modern right? No, I don’t even think that’s true. I think the ancients have one compensating advantage even in the realm of the empirical. If you mean by empirical, not merely the kind of sense experiences that can show themselves equally to an impersonal instrument like a camera or a spectrograph or to a human being. But you mean rather everything that a human being directly experiences.

William James, one of my favorite philosophers, calls himself a radical empiricist. Now he’s not a materialist at all. Why, because he’s a radical empiricist. He’s not an ideological empiricist who has the assumption that anything that doesn’t appear to the five senses is unreal. That’s why even though he was a life long agnostic, he wrote a fascinating very useful and open minded book called the Varieties of Religious Experience. And he was fascinated with religious mysticism. And he never said it’s all fake. Because he’s a true empiricist. The other equally famous American pragmatist, John Duey, was not nearly as empirical as James.

He was ideologically atheist and materialist. Or at least ideologically agnostic. James is an agnostic too but he was a practical agnostic. It’s like two different kinds of skeptics. Socrates is a practical skeptic. But Montane is a theoretical skeptic. A practical skeptic is someone who practices the method of questioning everything hoping to find the truth at the end. That’s quite different than a dogmatic skeptic who says that is the end. There is no truth which of course is self-contradictory. It’s true that there is no truth. And no matter how you nuance that, it always comes out as a self-contradiction. It’s only probably that truth is only probable or it’s subjective that truth is subjective or it’s absolute that there are no absolutes or it’s universal that nothing is universal. You can’t hold that.

Okay, back to Marcel’s distinction between problem and mystery. Marcel made one of the most astounding and challenging statement I have ever read in any philosopher. And I’m sure 75% of philosophers writing in America when they read that say, this is absolute nonsense. This is fuzzy-headed, muddled headed thinking. He says that, I can’t remember his exact words. It’s in the essay on the ontological mystery. But he says at the end that he thinks that the most fruitful and profound avenue to understanding being, to understanding metaphysics, to understanding ontology, is the study of sanctity. What? Metaphysic, sanctity? Why does he connect those two things together? Well, there are two premises that reveal the connection.

Put them together and you get this conclusion. Premise number one is something that Marcel shares with Heideger and a number of other continental philosophers namely that if you want to understanding being, understand human being. Understand the being of things in nature is understanding a different kind of being than understanding your own being. Things in nature are real and you are real. But they’re real in different ways. And understanding the things in nature are like reading a book. But understanding your own being is like reading a letter that’s addressed to you, written by yourself. It’s more intimate, more inside. You get more information that way. So, maybe in order to understand being itself, we should start not simply with the beings in nature that can lead you so far.

But maybe we should try understanding our own being. Human existence. All right, that’s one premise. That’s a fruitful path at least. Second premise, how best to understand human existence. How best to understand the I. Well, you could try to understand it by a kind of average or you could understand it in its most problematic and defective forms or you could try to understand it in its most perfect form. When you study anatomy, do you start by studying diseases or do you start by studying the healthy human body? Is health defined by diseases or are diseases defined by health? The second of course. Well, why not apply the same to the soul as you do to the body?

Why not understand diseased human beings by healthy human beings? Well, the answer to that question is very simple because there are no healthy human beings. We’re all diseases, it’s true. They say to the first to confess to their sinners but they’re not as diseased as the rest of them, that’s what makes them saints. So at least relatively, you understand that the more diseased by the less diseased, not vice versa. That’s a radical notion in modern psychology. Very few if any non-Christian psychologists see human nature as fallen, as abnormal. They all take it as normal. They all take what we know as Christians as diseased as if it is the norm. And then they see saints as weird. And as not conforming to the norm.

This is why Peter Jackson spoiled the greatest book of the 20th century. It’s a great movie. And if you never read the Lord of the Rings, you’ll still love his movie. But if you read the Lord of the Rings, and you love it and you understand it, you’ll be outraged at the fact that almost every single character is at least subtly if not overtly changed to a more diseased character, a more conflicted character, a much more cynical character. Obviously example is Faramir, the great medieval knight, a hero of honor, and of almost impossibly heroic virtue who becomes a suspicious kidnapper of the hobbits. Sam of all people, almost the relationship between Frodo and Sam which is pure friendship almost breaks at the steps of Cirith Ungol because of Gollum as if evil’s almost more powerful than good. And most people say, well sure, that’s realistic, that’s the way people are.

These old epics that Tolkien trying to revive are worthless because they give you impossibly perfect ideals, platonic archetypes. Well that’s their whole purpose. If you want to understand what a real kind is, look at Aragorn, if you want to understand what a real wizard, look at Gandalf. If you want to understand what a real friend is, look at Sam. They’re not perfect but they’re heroes. The very idea of heroism is something that I think Hollywood barely understands. But we understand it. We have a hero. We have a perfect hero. A literal, incarnate perfect hero. His name is Jesus Christ. And Christ reveals to us not only who God is, Christ reveals to us who man is. There are two equally important parts to this specifically Christian dogma about Christ and nobody else believes this except Christians.

Christ is perfect God and Christ is perfect man. Augustine in his soliloquies at one point imagine God and himself in a conversation. And he imagines God asking him, Augustine, you’re a curious fellow, you’re a philosopher. You want to know a lot of things. How many questions you want answered. And Augustine says, just two. Just two says God, yeah. If you give me complete answers to these two questions, I’ll be satisfied. What are they? Augustine says, who are you and who am I? [audience laughing] That’s pretty wise ’cause those are the only two persons that you can never, ever avoid for a single second in time or in eternity. Well Christ is the answer to both of those questions. Perfect God and perfect man. And instead of judging him in relation to the supposedly empirical facts of who we are and how we behave, suppose we did the opposite, suppose we judged ourselves in relation to him which is what Christians do. Therefore there is an enormous gap between Christian psychology and non-Christian psychology.

A gap as radical as a gap would be, if some astronomers believed that before a certain point in the history of our universe, the fundamental laws of physics were radically different. And what we have now is fallen gravity instead of real gravity. And fallen electromagnetic attraction. Maybe there were the three forces instead of two and one was removed. So if the universe is essentially bent and crooked, that would be a radically different physics and all the physics say you’re crazy. Well, that’s in effect what secular psychologists say to Christians who measure and judge human behavior by the standard as Jesus Christ.

All right, back to Marcel’s statement that to understand human persons, understand the saints. To understand anything, you understand it in its state of perfection. You don’t understand oak tress in light of acorns, you understand acorns in light of oak tress. You don’t understand people in light of babies, they’re just bigger babies. We are big babies, we’re not just big babies though. You understand babies in light of human beings. Why does an unborn baby have feet? It doesn’t need feet in the womb. Why does he have a nose? He doesn’t need a nose in the womb. He doesn’t breath air through his nose. He’s practicing. The only answer to the question why he’s developing those organs is in terms of his future, in terms of his purpose, his end. His teleology. Even though teleology doesn’t work in the physical sciences, I’m not even sure it doesn’t. But the consensus seems to be that it doesn’t. It certainly is not only workable but necessary in the psychology sciences.

So, the question, what is the complete perfect, healthy human being? What is our end? That’s crucial for our understanding who we are now. In other words, if sanctity is the meaning of life, then we can only understand ourselves by understanding the saints, who are closer to this than we are. But is it? Jesus says it is. Huh? Doesn’t Jesus just say, try a little harder? Uh-uh, nope, nothing like that. Nothing like that, sorry. What does he say? He says, you must not just ought to or should, you must be perfect as my father in heaven is perfect. Oh come on, he didn’t really say that. Oh, well you don’t like that? Throw that part out of the Bible and you might as well through everything else out too, whenever you want to. But, but yeah? We can’t do that precisely. Hmm. But we have to. Precisely, that’s a koan puzzle. That’s an unsolvable puzzle. Yes, that’s life’s primary puzzle. We have to do and be that which we cannot do and be.

That’s why we need a savior. So the meaning of life remains to be a saint. Jesus says so. Even Camus, the atheist knew that. He was haunted by the saints all his life. Never believed in God. He remained an atheist or at least an agnostic all his life. But he was haunted by the saints. And one of the most compelling literary characters in modern fiction, I think, is Camus’ alter ego, Dr. Rue, in the plague. Like Camus himself, Rue is an atheist. He finds himself in Algeria, a plague breaks out, he’s the only one that can heal the people. And thousands are dying in horrible pain. And the doctor has a comfortable family and a comfortable practice back in France and everybody expects him to go back to France and he doesn’t. Why? He says because I know the meaning of life is to be a saint. I don’t believe in God but I believe in sanctity. Problem is, the doctor ruminates, I can’t understand how you can be a saint without God.

So I’ve got these three ideas, one of which must be false. And I can’t figure out which one. Number one, the meaning of life is to be a saint. Number two, there is no God. Number three, you can’t be a saint without God. Now, that is a wonderful problem for an atheist to have. If Camus had lived a little longer, he would have been one of the greatest Christian writers in history, he would have been a new Dostoevsky. I’m very sympathetic to unhappy atheists. Ask your atheists, are you happy or unhappy? If he’s happy, either slap him in the face or leave him alone. He’s not going anywhere. But if he’s unhappy, talk to him. He’s on the way.

Leon Bloi, the 19th century French Catholic playwright snuck this line into almost of his plays. There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint. But don’t most of us both Protestants and Catholics, think of the saints as unusual and exceptional? Is sanctity for everybody? Well did Jesus preach the Sermon on the Mountain only to a few people? Did he put a post script on it? This is for clergy only? No. Hmm. Well, even so, you’ve got to say that some people can do it and some people can’t right? well, who designed people?

Were there two Gods that designed people? One designed the people that could become saints and the other one designed the people that couldn’t? Or did just one God design all people and human nature as such? Well, yeah. Well therefore you can’t be a nominalist. You can’t say only individuals count, there’s no universals. If human nature is not a universal, you may as well be a racist. And split the humans into different races. It may not be Arians and Jews, it might be saints and sinners but nothing in common? Impossible. All right, so sanctity is for everybody. That means you can do it. Because ought implies can. You can’t possibly have a moral obligation to do something that is absolutely impossible at any time and in all circumstances for you to do. But you’re not doing it. Yeah, that’s why you feel guilty.

I love that line in William Law’s Serious Call to the Devout Life. He says, if you will consult your own heart and utter honesty, and ask yourself the question, why am I not as holy as the primitive Christians? You must come up with the honest answer. Because you do not holy want to be. That’s very unflattering but it’s also very encouraging. What is sanctity? I’ve been talking a lot about it without defining it. Ontologically, it’s God likeness. It’s being like God in your being and therefore in your acting and in your desiring.

It’s especially in your desiring, to obey the greatest commandment, to love God with your whole heart and soul and mind and strength. We all love God a little bit. We all love God with part of ourselves. But not the whole. We have a divided will. Augustine discovered that profoundly in the confessions. At the very moment of his conversion. Why was he holding back? We’re split. The word sin has a lot of meanings, one of them is of course simply disobeying God’s law and God’s will but another is, the separation, the [speaks foreign language], it’s the German word from the verb [speaks foreign language] which means to separate, to alienate, to cut into two parts. Separation not just of the self from God, but also the self from the self. I am not what I will to be.

Buddha was who is profound psychologist discovered that fact, that we’re alienated, that we’re broken. He called that Dukkha. The word I’m told means a stick that’s broken or an axle that’s broken or a limb that’s broken or a bone that’s out of its socket. We’re broken because we desire to be what we’re not. We are one thing and what we want to be is something else. And that’s a profound diagnosis but I think Buddha has exactly the wrong cure. He says stop desiring anything. No, that’s spiritual euthanasia. That’s killing the patient to cure the disease.

All right so, to be a saint is to be like God. That’s the ontological answer to the question, how to define the term. The phenomenal logical answer is much more complicated. What does it feel like. All of us are a mixture of saint and sinner. There’s a little good in the worst of us, a little bad in the best of us. So it all becomes the best of us to speak out of the worst of us. So, the description of the details of those two wills, those two movements that we all find within ourselves, what Paul calls Adam and Christ, the old man and the new man. That’s a very fruitful area for Christian psychologists and the method is in a broad sense, phenomenal logical. You just look at the appearances and say exactly what you experience at the time without judging it with categories. And then, there’s also an empirical description of the saints.

Phenomenology tells you what it feels like and empiricism tells you what it looks like. Because the model for phenomenology is feeling and the model for empiricism is seeing. And seeing is much more objective and much more clear. And we need a lot of empirical data about the saints. I’m surprised that there isn’t more. Both inside and outside the church.

If all psychologist were like Williams James we’d have a lot of unbelievers writing the lives of the saints. They’d be fascinated with them. But even most Christians don’t pay much attention to them anymore. What a shame. On a purely practical level, there’s no better way of teaching than by concrete example. And here are our heroes, our concrete examples. And of course, there are disagreements about them. But there’s massive agreement. There’s no fundamental disagreement for instance between Catholics and Protestants about who are saints. I never met a Protestant who said, Mother Teresa and Francis of Assisi are both wicked people. Or any Catholic who knew people like Charles Wesley, John Wesley, Hudson Taylor and called them sinners instead of saints. So there’s a lot of agreed empirical data out there.

When we define sanctity though, it’s very important to separate it from what’s a very popular confusion, namely spirituality. That’s a very dangerous word. It can be used correctly but very often, it’s used incorrectly. When you go to bookstores, you’ll often find two different sections. One on religion and one on spirituality. And that’s accurate. They’re very different. You find many people saying, oh, I’m not religious but I’m spiritual. What does that mean? Well it means that some of you are in a real relationship to God. That’s what religion means, relationship, from religio or religare, binding relationship. Yoking or binding. But some of you, on the other hand, are agnostic heretics.

And you think of your soul as a perfume, which you must purify so that it can ascend into the nostrils of receptive, smiling heaven. That’s not religion. That’s something quite different. There’s nothing particularly fine about being spiritual. The most evil being in all reality is totally and perfectly spiritual, and he’s called the devil. On the other hand, every single bit of matter in the universe is good because God created it and called it good. Buddha was a very spiritual person, very profound person, but a very spiritual person. Gave his disciples a mode of salvation or deliverance from suffering. Namely his noble, eight fold path, the culmination of the four noble truths. And he shared his mind. He said, this is my mind. Follow that and you will be saved by becoming spiritual. Jesus saved us by giving us His body. Not just His mind. It’s the blood of Christ that saves us. Not the philosophy.

So for a Christian, sanctity doesn’t means spirituality. It’s a relationship. It’s a religious, binding relationship. It’s a free, but non-negotiable relationship. It’s an absolute relationship to the absolute. What is that relationship in a single word? Well, I’m going to shock some of you by saying that the best word that I can think of for that relationship in a single word comes from another religion, which I think is deeply compromised. The word is Islam. It has two meanings. First of all, it’s cognate to the word, shalom which means peace in the deepest sense. The peace that Christ promised to bring. Not as the world brings, as He brings. The world brings peace with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Christ brings peace with God, self, and neighbor. But that peace comes through Islam, which means total surrender. Total submission. That’s the heart of all true religion.

The most important petition in the Lord’s prayer is thy will be done. If you say that with your whole heart and soul, then by definition, that makes you a saint. So sanctity is more than spirituality. It’s even more than virtue. The moral virtues are very important, and if you don’t have them it’s much less likely that you’ll be a saint. But just because you’re virtuous doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a saint. The Pharisees had a lot of virtues. They were far from saints. St. Paul, before his conversion, had a lot of virtues. He was honorable, he was honest, he was passionate. I love that passage in Philippians where he goes through all of his worldly pluses. I was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, as to the law, blameless. I was a Roman citizen. I studied under the feed of Gamalial, the greatest Rabbi of the first century. He was called the light of Israel. Yet all of these things, compared with the knowledge of Jesus Christ I call, and then there’s a wonderful word, which nobody since the King James Bible dared to translate literally. The word in Greek is scubala. It’s a four letter word and it begins with S. Dung was the Elizabethen word for it. It’s deliberately shocking. Even the life of moral virtue, important as it is, compared with the life of Christ is dung. So a saint is not just a virtuous man. He’s a hero. To be a hero you have to go beyond the call of duty. You have a duty to practice all the virtues. You have a duty to cultivate all the virtues. You have a duty to make your own character a virtuous character. That’s your duty, everybody’s duty.

But a hero goes beyond the call of duty. Sanctity also goes beyond virtue in another way. It gives you a kind of ecstasy. The word comes from ecstasis, which means standing outside yourself. What does that mean? Well for one thing it means unselfconsciousness. Self consciousness ruins good things. It also ruins bad things. So when you are in a bad state, it’s good to be self conscious. Oh look, I am now succumbing to lust, to envy, to anger. But when you’re doing something good, self consciousness ruins that too. Oh look, I am having a religious experience. How interesting, I think I’ll write a doctor’s thesis on it. The devil wants you to be self conscious when you’re good, but not when you’re bad. God wants the opposite because He wants you to put a thermometer in your mouth when you’re sick, but not when you’re well.

So the saints are not always mystics, but they always have some kind of standing outside themselves, not only that they’re not willing their own will, but God’s will and not only that they’re more conscious of God than they are of themselves. They take their temperature now and then too. But that they identify with God more than themselves. What does that mean, identify with? It means you find your identity in. A saint is someone who cannot imagine, cannot conceive going to heaven and finding out that there’s no God. You’re there and you’re fine, but there’s no God. Well a saint would say, then there’s nothing left of me, nothing at all. It’s not that 10% of me is mine and 90% is God’s. 100% is God’s, so there’s nothing left here. That’s why Jesus says you have to die before you die. The grain of wheat has to fall into the ground and die in order to grow. Most people, especially Americans, want religion to add something to their lives. Christ wants religion to kill something in your life. That old man, that egotism, that my will be done. Most people want religion, either because it’s gonna give them pleasure or because it’s gonna give them happiness which is deeper. But they don’t realize that what God wants is something beyond that. Joy.

Joy is as much deeper than happiness as happiness is deeper than pleasure, because joy is always a surprise. Joy never is simply the satisfaction of our desires as happiness is. And that’s why joy doesn’t get boring. And that’s why heaven’s not gonna be boring. I had a crisis of faith when I was a teenager. I didn’t wanna go to heaven. I thought it was gonna be boring. I thought it was an eternal church service, and frankly, I was bored at church services. [audience laughing] And then my father, who was a wise and holy man, pointed out to me that there’s a verse in the book of Revelation that says, there are no churches, no temples in heaven because God’s there. I said, okay. I’ll go. [audience laughing] Sanctity is practical. It’s winsome, it will work. It will win the world. Our world is dying. There’s a patient on the hospital table and he’s in critical case. And he’s dying. And he hasn’t flat lined yet, but he’s moving there. And the patient is mankind.

We’ve been in that situation in one way or another ever since a certain incident with a snake and an apple in a garden. But the crisis is much greater today because we’re in a de-Christianized culture, a divorce culture. That is we’re increasingly divorcing ourselves from God. And a divorcee is not just a virgin. So we’re not Pagans, it would be nice if we were. People complain the world is going back to Paganism. I said, oh well what a brave vision. That would be wonderful. Because a Pagan is eminently convertible. Now we’re in desperate states.

What can save our miserable world? What can save Western Civilization. No civilization in human history has ever survived without strong and stable families. None. And the four longest lasting cultures have all had a very high regard for the family. Jewish culture, Confusion culture, Muslim culture, and the culture of Rome. Especially the Republic. These are the fundamental building blocks of any society. And these building blocks are suddenly and radically collapsing. It’s inevitable that the whole building will collapse unless that’s restored. How?

Saints. Saints save civilization. That’s not their fundamental purpose, but they do. How many saints? Well we don’t know. There’s a Jewish legend that says at each time in human history God looks down and asks how many saints are there? And the answer is 12. So He says, okay, I won’t destroy the world. But if the number goes down to 11, He will destroy the world. Now the 12th saint has just died. Somebody’s gotta take his place. Will it be you? Maybe if it’s not you, it won’t be anybody. So maybe the survival of the world depends on you. And that’s addressed to everybody. It’s a universal call. There’s no excuse. So please be a saint, please save the world.

I’m supposed to go on for 45 minutes. I have five minutes more, good. I’ll give you one more point. And then we’ll have the really interesting stuff, questions. Last question is sanctity specifically Christian or are there non-Christian saints too? Well that’s a more complicated question than it seems because we can see great saints in other religions. Saint Phillip Neary, who was a very good person by anybody’s standards. You don’t have to believe this literally happened, it might be just a myth, but it’s a useful one. Was preaching in a cathedral once. And he was famous and everybody came to hear him preach because everybody said, oh this man is a saint. And he used to hear in his mind, actual words from the Holy Spirit. And he was about to preach when the Holy Spirit said to him, I want to show you the most saintly person in this room. And St. Phillip Neary was very afraid that the Holy Spirit would point himself out to him.

And he was saintly enough to realize that he was still proud and he didn’t want that finger to point to him. And the Holy Spirit said, no don’t worry, it’s not you. He said, okay, show me. And here was a little old scrub woman in the front row. But she was not a Christian, she was a Muslim. And the saint said to the Holy Spirit, but Lord, she is a heretic. And the Lord says, yes that’s true, but she loves me more than even you do. It’s possible. We find saints everywhere. What’s happening there? Well, ontologically in objective fact, what’s happening is that the grace of God, mediated through Jesus Christ, which is the only way it comes unless Christ Himself is a liar. No man can come to the father but by me. No one has seen the father except through me. The grace of Jesus Christ is anonymously entering into that life. And I think we have to respect that and seek that out and learn from that. And that shouldn’t be a surprise because here is an apparently very “liberal” idea, namely that other religions also produce great saints and we should listen to them. And learn from them.

That’s based on a very “conservative” idea. In fact, the essential idea of conservative or traditional Biblical Christianity, namely that Jesus Christ is not just the ideal human being, but literally God incarnate. John one, verse nine, who is Jesus Christ? He is the light that enlightens Christians? Jesus is the light that enlightens every man who comes into the world. Wow. So this liberal hope for sanctity and even for salvation because we don’t have the populations to just use heaven and hell, of non-Christians is based on this essential traditional doctrine that Jesus is the one savior, who is for everybody. If you just look at the psychological appearances, if you just look at the polls, if you just listen to what people say, they’ll say, no, I don’t believe in Jesus Christ.

Psychology is fundamentally about know thyself. The solution to Socrates’ great paradox. And the fundamental answer to that question is Christ Himself, Christ is the answer to Socrates. How do we know Christ? In many ways, but one of the most fruitful ways is through those who know Him best, namely, the saints. Another definition of a saint. Those who know, [speaking foreign language], those who know Christ the best. I can’t think of any other way, any better way to be a Christian psychologist. I’m going to arbitrarily stop now. And ask you for the most, one of the most precious things you could possibly give. The one thing that only human being do, ask questions. Questions are incredibly creative things. That question didn’t exist for you before you raised it. How creative is that? Nothing else in the universe can do that. Jesus, you’ll notice, never discouraged questions. He never said, that’s a stupid question or don’t ask questions. So please ask questions. [audience member muffled speaking] Oh he’s just invited me and I came. No mystery about that. But the motivation for writing a book on heaven, that’s a little more tricky and mysterious. And I see now that my motivation was that I didn’t know that I was a fool.

A fool walks in where angels fear to tread. When I started writing the book, my uncle said to me, I hear you’re writing a book on heaven. I said, mhmm. He said, it must be wrong. I said, wait a minute. You haven’t read it because I haven’t even written it yet. How do you know it’s wrong? He said, well you believe the Bible don’t you? I said, yeah. He said, well here’s how the Bible describes heaven. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him.

Now you’re a man, right? And these thoughts have entered into your heart, right? So they must be wrong. [audience laughing] So I said to myself, I better throw away the book then. But wait a minute, wait a minute. It might still be useful. So I now think if God were to read that book, He would frown at little bits of it. He would laugh at most of it. And He would smile at tiny little bits of it. So maybe those tiny little bits of it might be useful. But I know about as much about heaven as an unborn fetus knows about California. But even that’s precious. [audience member muffled speaking] Actually, I wrote two books about heaven. One was a psychological book. It was about our desire for heaven. It was called Heaven, the Heart’s Deepest Longing. And there, I think, I said some things that are sayable. But the next book was called Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking. And it was a long, gossipy book speculating about time and space and sexuality and all sorts of other stuff in heaven. And it’s just useful speculation. Just guesses.

 

Man: I was wondering, Dr. Kreeft, if you could address what seems to be that opposition we hold about pop psychology talking about, it being a good thing [muffled speaking].

 

Just the opposite. In order to surrender your will, you have to have a strong will. Because the will to surrender your will has to overcome your contrary will not to surrender your will, so that’s a fight. So you have to be a fighter. No, my complaint about pop psychology is not that they teach that you have to have a strong will. You do. They teach that you have to be autoerotic, you have to hug yourself and say I am my own best friend. There was an obscene children’s show on when my kids were little, maybe it’s still on, called The Electric Company, which began with this little diddy. ♪ The most important person in the whole wide world is you ♪ Really. Sorry, God, you’re number two. Sorry, Jesus, you’re number two. You’re over there, I’m the sun, you’re my planets. That’s satanic. It sounds good, very flattering. That’s pop psychology in its worst sense. But still, we’re not immune from that. I ask my students sometimes on questionnaires this question, most of you are familiar with this question. If you were to die tonight and meet God and God said, why should I let you into heaven, what would your answer be? About half of them give this answer. I tried, I led a good life. I was trying to be kind. I tried to obey your commandments. I never knowingly hurt anybody. In other words, I’m a Pharisee. Look Lord how good I am. I thank you that I am this good. That’s desperately bad. That’s really stupid. That’s pop psychology. [audience member muffled speaking]

Man: Beyond the boundaries of the church and interested in recovering sanctity in the broader culture. Because I think we all agree we would want a sanctified society, a society in which virtues are not just duties, but people take acts of heroism seriously. But what do you do when you’re, for us you would say that Jesus is that model of that perfect human being that we are to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and say this is what I ought to be like. Now how do you recover that? Obviously, I know evangelism, trying to reach people with the gospel is one thing. But what about those who, for example, other religions or maybe they have no religion, but they don’t want Jesus. So how is sanctity possible when you don’t have the well picture of Jesus by which to judge in what sense you’re sick? In other words–

Well they don’t want Jesus, but Jesus wants them. So He’s gonna act on them, if they let Him, anonymously. And on our part, that’s not in addition to the gospel, that essential to the gospel. Why is Jesus called Jesus? Look at your Bible. Does it say you shall call His name Jesus because He will save His people from hell or from punishment? No, He will save His people from their sins. So sanctification is equally necessary to justification. This is not about faith in works. This is about sanctification. That’s part of the gospel. Okay, I believe that the first answer to the question how to do it is to be convinced that it has power. That it can be done and should be done. The methods of being it, I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a sociologist, I’m not a politician. I don’t have very many practical suggestions. I’m an absentminded professor. The most impractical kind of people in the world. But I am convinced that the very first step to motivate anybody to do something is to show them how beautiful it is and how attractive it is and how necessary it is. You believe in gravity, right? And you know that gravity holds all the matter and the universe together, right? And that that’s a force that’s incredibly powerful. All right. You’re not a materialist, right? You believe that there’s a spiritual reality as well as a physical reality. And at least in us, those two realities are one. We’re not a ghost plus a machine. So it’s reasonable to think that the spiritual universe is analogous to the physical universe. Which would mean that there is a spiritual equivalent to gravity. What’s that? The presence of God. And what does that look like when it descends into human beings? Sanctity. So sanctity is a kind of spiritual gravity. When Jesus was around, people came out from everywhere to see Him. Some hated Him, some loved Him. There’s anti-gravity too. But His mere existence drew out those people as a magnet will draw iron filings. So will the saint. Here’s a little obscure woman in India, Mother Theresa and she became one of the most powerful people in the world. Thousands of people fell in love with Jesus Christ because of Mother Theresa. All right? How to save the world, be 10 more Mother Theresa’s. That would be a bombshell.

Okay, okay yeah.

And there’s no reason the 10 of them aren’t in this room right now.

Man: Thank you.

Man: Dr. Kreeft, I know you said that, is this loud enough? Okay. I know you said that you’re not a very practical person, but if somebody were to come to you and say, Dr. Kreeft, I recognize that I’m a sick person, that I’m diseased. What sort of practical advice would you give them to become a saint?

Oh, go to the Great Physician. Go to the saint maker. Run, screaming into His arms and say, save me. That’s like, that’s too easy an answer. No excuse me, it’s too easy a question. That’s like saying, if you were the captain of a ship and the ship was sinking and there was a lifeboat, and you had to give instructions to the sailors, what would you say? Gee, I don’t know. Let’s see, I might say, jump in the lifeboat. But then again, that’s too simple. Let me be sophisticated, let me give some other answers. Come on, that’s too easy.

Man: Well what sort of practical, like when you say jump into the arms of the savior, right, run to Jesus. What does that mean? Like what sort of practical–

Oh, I see. Well that means different things for different people because we’re all coming from different places. If He’s in the center and we’re all alienated from Him at different parts of the periphery, it depends on where we’re coming from, what we have to overcome and what our road map is. So that’s where you need good practical psychology and human understanding. But I sense that I haven’t really answered your question. Are you looking for a universal formula that’ll practically work as a road map for everybody equally? Like the four spiritual laws? I’m sorry, they’re true, but they’re not everybody’s adequate road map. People come in such different sizes and shapes that you have to deal with them differently. Jesus is like the sun and when the sun shines through a prism it comes into different colors. And some of us are in the purple part and some of us are in the red part and some of us are in the blue part. So we see Him differently. Not contradictorily, but just differently. And certainly the obstacles in people’s way are different. Is your obstacle intellectual? Is your obstacle cultural? Is your obstacle sexual? Is your obstacle depression or guilt? Is your obstacle addiction? Is your obstacle not wanting to offend your friends? There are thousands of different obstacles that have to be overcome. And there’s no one answer to that. [audience member muffled speaking] Surrender is an activity. It’s a very demanding activity.

We Americans aren’t very good at silence and at contemplation. Why? Because we think it’s laziness. It’s not, just the opposite. It takes much more effort than work. We’re fly wheels. It’s very easy to keep going round and round. It’s very hard to stop. A car is going 50 miles an hour. It’s easy to speed up to 100. It’s easy to turn right or left or even make a U-turn. But to stop it entirely takes a lot of effort. And that act of surrender is not just stopping doing something. It’s, how shall I put it? If you have a lively faith then after you say, thy will be done, the first thing you’ll do will be you will duck because you know that God will answer it. Watch out. You give Him an inch and He’ll take a yard. [audience member muffled speaking] Haven’t the foggiest idea. That’s a tempting question to think about, I don’t think it’s a fruitful question to think about. I think one of the most liberating things Mother Theresa ever said was the thing that she’s most often quoted as saying. God did not put me into this world to be successful. He put me here to be faithful. You do the will of God and let the chips fall where they may. God picks up the chips.

Woman: Dr. Kreeft, do you think the two great commandments that Jesus gave us in the Bible is perhaps part of the practical answer to sanctity, to first of all know that we’re loved by God. But then to respond to Him and to our neighbor. And I see it in American culture. We think being a saint sometimes means to be nice to people or to be tolerant to people. And people are just trying too hard. They’re really not loving and serving and laying down their lives as we see the saints and as we see as Christ did for us.

Well first of all, Jesus never told us to be nice because He wasn’t nice. You don’t take nice guys and nail them to a cross. Secondly, you’re absolutely right in saying that the two great commandments are intensely practical. In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis’ very personal diary about his depression after the death of his wife, he confesses real Job like tests of faith. And at one point he says something like this. He says… I’m asking the wrong questions. I know the meaning of life. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know the two great commandments. I’m supposed to get on with them. Everything else is about feelings and weights and depressions and stuff in me, that the commandments don’t say anything about that. They just say love God with your whole heart, love your neighbor as yourself. Commandments aren’t to think about, they’re to do. We love to think about them because this gives us excuses. We don’t fully understand them, so we can’t do them. So we nuance them. We make them more difficult to understand. But God made them almost impossible to misunderstand. What part of this don’t you understand? You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart. Tell me which word you don’t understand. Well I’d like to discuss this some more. Well I wouldn’t. Do it.

Man: I think this gentlemen has been wanting to go for a while.

Man: I love your work, Dr. Kreeft. I just wanted to ask, there’s a quote that I’ve heard that’s by, I think Merten, I’m not sure. But that says a saint is not someone who’s good, but somebody who’s experienced the goodness of God. And I just wanted to hear your thoughts on that.

Yeah. That’s my thought, yes. [audience laughing] Yeah, because if you’re good, that could mean many things. It could mean that you’ve made yourself good. Or it could mean that you think you could be good without God. Or it could mean that you think good means nice and you’re nice. But once you’ve met God, you’ve met what goodness really means. And that’s when you start really becoming good. And after you’ve met God and you’re doing His will, inevitably some people think you’re not being good. That’s what they thought about Jesus. That’s what they thought about all the saints. Many saints become martyrs. Why? Because it’s a different kind of goodness. It’s a more shocking goodness. If you’re not offending anybody at all, you’re not really doing Jesus’ work. You’re certain offending the devil. And if you’re not stirring him up and if you’re not being tempted and if you’re being left alone and if everything is going smooth in your life, worry. Because the better you are, the more he’ll get at you. And the more problems you’ll have. But they will be the problems of life, not the problems of death. Yeah. [audience member muffled speaking]

Oh yeah, that’s easy. Just contemplate three non-negotiable divine attributes. If you’re at all philosophical and you like logical reasoning, I find that this is a very practical and useful spiritual device. One, God is all powerful. He can do anything. Number two, God is all loving. He loves you infinitely much more than you could love yourself. Number three, God is all wise. He knows exactly what you need. And therefore these things that you fear, these temptations from the false self, this confusion about the false self, this immense difficulty in cooperating with God, in killing the false self. That is God’s will. That is part of His plan. Trust Him. Faith works a lot better and more effectively, I think, than the virtues. If you don’t have much natural human courage, but you have a lot of faith and you trust God, you could be a martyr much more easily than if you have no faith, but quite a bit of courage.

Man: I believe we have time for maybe one more. Our plan is to end at six.

Oh, let’s make it two.

Man: Okay, two more. [audience laughing]

If there were only 10 men left in Sodom, would you spare it? I’d like to negotiate.

Three more, three more. [audience laughing]

Man: You talked earlier about God wanting us to be self introspective when we are in a place where we’re doing evil, but not when we are living a holy life. But I found personally there’s been times in my life where I thought I was living the life of a saint, but looking back, I have a lot of questions about that now. So where, is there a place for self introspection? Or how do you on an ongoing basis evaluate kind of that in your life.

I wasn’t talking about long periods of time. I was talking about specific acts. And you’re right, sometimes we deceive ourselves. It’s very easy to be self satisfied and self righteous, oh look how good I am. So we have to be self critical and honest at all times. Yet, at any particular time if in fact you are doing something good, self knowledge spoils it. And if in fact you are doing something bad, self knowledge spoils it. But how to discern whether you’re doing something good or something bad is another question.

Man: You mentioned before about, about the Muslim woman sitting in the front row, the Holy Spirit pointing out as being the holiest, or what was it, the most sanctified person in the room. And saying that she loves me more than even you do. My question to that was, how could that be? Doesn’t she love someone else or love a fabrication that she has subscribed to?

No, no, no. Where did Muslims learn about God? From the same people we did, from the Jews. Do any of us fully understand God? No, so it’s a matter of degree. Certainly a Christian knows God more than a Muslim does. Much more intimately, much more completely, much more accurately. But though a Muslim has a primitive and inadequate knowledge of God and line to God, the individual Muslim may well invest more of his or her life and soul and heart in that primitive communication line than the Christian. Quite possible. To say that Muslims worship a different God than Christians do is as absurd as saying Jews worship a different God than the Christians do. The nature of God was not invented by Muhammad. It was revealed by God Himself to His chosen people, the Jews. And Muhammad met many Jews and Christians and that’s how he learned about the true God. So there’s a lot of good theology in the Quran, mixed with a lot of bad theology. To say that something is completely bad without anything good in it, I don’t know any example of that. I’ve even learned from the Nazis. Because a perversion is always a perversion of something good and if you could get under perversion and see the good thing, you can learn from that.

Okay, one more this time. We really mean it.

Woman: So who is your favorite saint then? Like someone who inspires you personally toward sanctity in your own life?

Well those are two different questions. If you mean, who is my favorite, if you mean by who is my favorite saint, who would I like to be the most like, it would be Jesus’ mother. Because she was the closes to Him. If you mean, what saint do I love to read about and would I like to interview the most, and do I identify with the most, it would have to be Augustine. I think The Confessions is the most inspiring book I’ve ever ready outside the Bible.

Woman: I kind of meant more where the first answer addressed, but I like both of them.

Okay, glad you like it. God bless you. [soft music]

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