It is a most praiseworthy practice to read accounts of the lives of the saints and to follow their example. By studying their lives we are unconsciously moved to imitate them. We are thus drawn closer to men and women who were truly great and good. By admiring their actions, we learn to follow their example. For those who wish to make a study there are books on the lives of the saints available in all religious bookstores.
It is true that for Christians, Christ himself is the first and greatest example. But who can better show us how to follow the example of Christ than a saint? We live in quite different times, under different circumstances. It is not always easy for us ordinary people to apply Christ's teachings to our own modem circumstances.
The saints are the Christian heroes. They are the words of the Gospel come to life. We see true Christian courage in the martyrs, faith in the great teachers, the humility for repentance in St. Augustine, the spirit of Christian service in St. Francis, the challenge of the social apostolate in St. Vincent de Paul, etc., etc.
"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
and, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time."