Father Brian was widely held to be a saint. He was wise and kind and good. He was so wise and kind and good that people turned a blind eye to his one failing. Father Brian's weakness was that, for one fortnight every year, he would leave the village and it was common knowledge that he spent those two weeks engaged in drinking, smoking and gambling. "Ah well...", people would say, "he's only human."

One year, I was away on business in the city of T---- during Father Brian's period of absence and I was surprised to see him helping out at a shelter in that city. He swore me to secrecy and admitted that he did this every year. Father Brian was wise and kind and good enough to know that to be too wise and kind and good could be very off-putting to people who felt that they could never live up to those kind of standards and that, in general, people were much happier, and more inclined to be good themselves, if they didn't feel that they lived in the shadow of a Saint.

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