At least that is what Pope Francis thinks!
Pope’s Mass: Saints are not heroes, they are sinners that bear witness to Christ
During his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis talked about the path to holiness. He explained that saints are not heroes, but sinners that are sanctified by the body and blood of Christ, and his bride, the Church.
“In this Holy Church the Lord chooses certain people so that holiness can be better seen, to show that it is He who sanctifies, that no one sanctifies himself, that there’s no course to become a saint, that being a saint is not being a religious fraud or something of that sort… No! It’s not! Holiness is a gift of Jesus to His Church, and to show that, He chooses people in whom His work of sanctifying is clearly seen.”
The Pope said the difference between a hero and a saint, is that saints follow the example of Jesus, who’s life ended in humiliation. As an example he cited John Paul II who lived his last days ravaged by disease.
SUMMARY OF THE POPE’S HOMILY
(Source: Vatican Radio)
“But how can she be holy if we are all within [her]? We are all sinners here. Yet the Church is holy! We are sinners, but she is holy. She is the spouse of Jesus Christ, and He loves her, He sanctifies her, He sanctifies her every day with His Eucharistic sacrifice, because He loves her so much. And we are sinners, but in a holy Church. And we too are sanctified with this belonging to the Church: we are children of Church, and Mother Church sanctifies us, with her love, with the Sacraments of her Spouse.”
“In this holy Church the Lord chooses certain people so that holiness can be better seen, to show that it is He who sanctifies, that no one sanctifies himself, that there’s no course to become a saint, that it’s not being a religious fraud or something of that sort… No! It’s not that! Holiness is a gift of Jesus to His Church and to show this He chooses people in whom His work of sanctifying is clearly seen.”
“He could not speak, the great athlete of God. This is how the great warrior of God ended his life, destroyed by disease, humiliated like Jesus. This is the path of sanctity of the great. And it is path of our sanctity. If we do not allow our hearts to be converted to this street of Jesus – bearing the cross every day, the ordinary cross, the simple cross – and allowing Jesus to increase; if we do not take this path, we will not be saints. But if we take this path, all of us will bear witness to Jesus Christ, who loves us so much. And we bear witness that, although we are sinners, the Church is holy. She is the spouse of Jesus.”
“Chesterton once said that the difference between a sinner and saint is not that the saint doesn’t sin. The difference is that the saint knows they’re a sinner.” cf http://famvin.org/en/2011/09/30/the-irritable-saint-st-vincent-de-paul/