Why would someone so holy as a Saint think they had such serious sin?

Steven PutmanQandA

Saints or Sinners?

Question: Our prayer group has been reading the lives of some saints, and we were struck by how some of them thought they were such sinners. Why would someone so holy think they had such serious sin?

Answer: Professional athletes practice the fundamentals of their sport over and over again, reaching for better form, consistency, and performance. They focus on the basics, review past performances, and visualize greater success. Practice makes better, if not perfect!

Spiritual masters such as the saints also looked for perfection. They practiced their faith in the search for holiness, grace, and virtue. Through sacraments, prayer, study, good works, and penance, they raised their level of awareness and their sensitivity to the presence of God, the demands of the Gospel, and the workings of the Holy Spirit. They examined their consciences daily, reviewing the day for moments of failure and times that they could have been more virtuous in one way or another. They resolved to do better, be more attentive, and alert!

Therefore, anything that would distract them or interfere with their relationship with God would be like a small black spot on a bright white wall — you can’t miss it! The great saints were aware of sin and the presence of evil because they were so tuned into the struggle between good and evil that was fought in their own lives, hearts, and souls.