You really can’t say much that is positive about sanctity until you first get rid of the odd-ball ideas in circulation. So let’s deal with some of these absurdities first.
It’s hard to tell who could have first dreamed up the idea that the saints were overserious, morbid people, not laughing or smiling much, because life looked too glum from where they sat. Someone did dream it up, though, and the calumny persists, so that people who are bubbling over with youth and good spirits are naturally revolted by the idea of such “sanctity.”
And they should be. I wouldn’t say there has never been a saint who didn’t have his gloomy moments because, since they’re human beings, there have probably been as many types of saints as there are types of human beings. For the most part, though, the saints as a class are the least gloomy of people, because sanctity leads to happiness and joy, and only those on the road to hell have a right to be gloomy.
- Joseph T. McGloin, SJ, Burn a Little! (or, what’s LOVE all about?) (1961)