From Kant on, “there is a feeling that really good deeds are the ones we do with the most effort, after the biggest struggles; so our moral thinking has concentrated on the difficulties of decision-making more than on the character that develops over a lifetime.” But this really doesn’t fit our moral instincts: “if we think of those people whose moral and spiritual integrity has mattered to us and made a difference to us, we shall normally find that they are the ones whose behavior doesn’t draw attention to how difficult it all is, how hard they’re working to be good; they are people for whom, to some extent, there is a ‘naturalness’ about what they do. They have become a particular kind of person; and that personal reality has begun to change the human nature they live in and to make slightly different things seem the obvious focus of desire”.…That is the character of sainthood: “the saint isn’t someone who makes us think, ‘That looks hard; that’s a heroic achievement of will'—with the inevitable accompanying thought, ‘That’s too hard for me'—but someone who makes us think, ‘How astonishing! Human lives can be like that, behavior like that can look quite natural'—with perhaps the thought, ‘How can I find what they have?‘” Saints’ lives are made up of “incidents that make it startlingly clear how extraordinary behavior can arise in situations of extreme pressure without any apparent effort”

Peter J. Leithart, “Easy Sainthood” (2016), quoting extensively from Silence and Honey Cakes by Rowan Williams.

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