I suppose that it can be said of the lives of the Saints that we can’t really relate to them. Fully, that is; the sufferings of St. George, the kindness of St. Nicholas, the charity of the unmercenaries and so forth. Looking at the life of St. Mary of Egypt we see just how true that is. We consider her life before the desert and we think to ourselves that we too are sinners but we’re not that bad. We consider her life of in the desert and we think to ourselves that we too repent of our sins but we don’t go that far. It seems as though her life goes from one extreme to another.
There is, however, that one moment in her life when she is before the icon of the Most Holy Theotokos in that church in Jerusalem. An invisible force is preventing her from going in. She weeps before the icon. She wants to change. Right there! That’s our life. We’re not out committing the sins she committed, then again we’re not pushing ourselves to the fullest in our dedication to God to the measure she did. But we weep, metaphorically at least, in our prayers. We want to change and we will; some day; there is time yet.
This, it seems, is our place in the lives of the Saints. We belong neither to those 17 years of debauchery nor in the 47 years of repentance. How long did she stand before the icon before entering the church? A few minutes perhaps? There is, it would seem, in those few moments,the essence of our spiritual life.
That is how we can compare to the Saints. Alas, no comparison at all.