The Giving and Taking of Life

Burtchaell, James T.

University of Notre Dame, 1989

p. 18

We learn virtue and vice by seeing them incarnated. We learn virtue from saints. It’s not as if we have an abstract idea of some virtue, note it in the life of a person, and then make them a saint. It’s rather that we see sanctity in a Stephen, learn sanctity there, and have our moral wisdom enlarged. Usually the recognition of sanctity is spontaneous and popular, not derived and scholarly. “Sanctity is in the eye of the beholder, and the primary beholder is the believing community.”