How could anyone think that John the Baptist was possessed by a demon? Or that Jesus Christ was a drunkard and a glutton? It’s hard to admit, but I can remember times in my life when I felt uncomfortable or even annoyed by “holy people.” And I’m not alone. Reading this passage, I’m reminded of the preposterous things people said about St. Mother Teresa after her death. How could anyone feel anything but love for Mother Teresa?

The Spiritual Exercises may give us some insight. Sometimes our hearts can be so hardened by sin that when we’re presented with good, evil touches our spirit “sharply and with noise and disquiet, as when the drop of water falls on the stone.” But if we are on the road to holiness, good things fall like “water on a sponge.” Is your heart more like a stone or a sponge?

—Sam Mauck is the Director of Catholic Campus & Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Memphis, which is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.