Saints for Sinners, by Father Alban Goodier, SJ

The foolish things of the world God has chosen that He may confound the wise, and the weak things of the world God has chosen that He may confound the strong, and the base things of the world and the things that are contemptible God has chosen and things that are not that He might bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in his sight. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)


Is this a book of biography, or is it romance? The author himself scarcely knows. If an honest attempt to give the facts makes biography, then he hopes it may deserve that title. If an effort to interpret some of those facts and give them life makes romance, then must his work be called romantic. In either case he hopes that the picture in each case is true; and that the whole is a proof of a deeper truth which it is needful for us all to remember. It is, that “God is wonderful in His saints”; that He “chooses whom He will Himself; that in His house “there are many mansions”; and that there is no condition of life to which His grace does not reach, none so low but He can make it worthy of Himself.

We have called this book “Saints for Sinners,” and in doing so we would take the word “Sinners” in a broad sense. For beside the actual consciousness of sin, and the sense of weakness that comes of it, there is also a kindred consciousness of failure, and ineffectualness, and other hard things in the spiritual life which makes us realize our utter nothingness, and compels us sometimes to wonder whether we are not ourselves their cause. When these hard things oppress us, and tempt us to despair or resent, it is well to bear in mind that they were the lot of all the saints, that “virtue is made perfect in infirmity,” and that the life of the Cross is an ideal above every other, however human nature may stumble or be scandalized. For this reason, in these chapters, the human element has been more considered than the sanctity that has been built upon it; the latter rises in proportion to the depth of the foundation.