One of the problems with the amazing lives of the saints is that it is easy to put them into another category. Beyond just dubious hagiography there are many stories of the saints right up to modern day full of the miraculous. The stories related to St. Pio certainly come to mind in this regard.
It is easy to start to think of them as a form of Super Heroes or Supernatural Heroes. You might dream of being a Super Hero, but you know you can never really be one. When we place the saints into a kind of “saint box” and category outside of ourselves we can forget that we are all also called to holiness. The canonized saints are recognized as heroic and the presence of heroic virtue is a determination made before someone is declared Venerable.
The performance of extraordinary virtuous actions with readiness and over a period of time. The moral virtues are exercised with ease, while faith, hope, and charity are practiced to an eminent degree. The presence of such virtues is required by the Church as the first step toward canonization. –Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary
The comic book Super Heroes receive their superpowers from being born under an alien sun, a power ring and power lantern, mutant adaptations, lab accidents, and even the fully human super heroes had things like access to tons of money to be able to imitate such powers — Batman and Ironman. So again as much as we would like to be super heroes, it is just a day dream.
We make a major mistake when we treat the saints this way. We distance ourselves as just sinners who muddle along as best we can. There is humility involved in this attitude, but also a lack of trust in God. The Church gives us countless examples of the saints who came from every background and culture. These examples of sanctity in action are meant not to be just admired but to help us to imitate Christ. These varied ways of the imitation of Christ are meant to help use not to put saints in some other category, but to join in with them in cooperating with grace. Stories of stigmata, levitating and even flying saints, etc are evidences of God’s power working through his friends but these outwards magnifications of super(natural) powers are not what we are called to imitate.
St. Therese recent feast day reminds us of all of our vocations.
“At last I have found my vocation. In the heart of the Church, I will be Love.”
We won’t be leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but we can love and we can grow in love. Looking at St. Therese and her “Little Way” is a necessary corrective to what heroic virtue really means. Though it isn’t as easy as just waiting around for some radioactive spider to bite us and then having to juggle are private and superhero life. We have to actively cooperate with God’s grace and increasing in the virtues. For myself it is the difficulty of moving from the theoretical understanding of this to the practical application. Moving the “With God all things are possible” from intellectual knowledge into a deeper real knowledge of it. Avoiding the green Kryptonite of vice and pulling our powers from the Son.