High ideals are not the exclusive preserve of the young, but they seem to go hand in hand with youthful energy and optimism.
The trick is to keep our ideals burning brightly, even when the vitality of youth begins to fade. This is, in part, what distinguishes a saint from the rest of us. A saint keeps the vision of God’s love and the call to serve one’s neighbor bright and clear to the end.
In fact, when we look at the lives of holy men and women, we see that their ideals grow stronger with the passage of time. Physical energies may fade, but sanctity requires a clarity and consistency that remain to the end of one’s days.
Father McGivney was an idealist. He was a man whose youthful vision and creativity expanded and matured even as his physical well-being diminished. His intense idealism is often expressed today in titles ascribed to him as his cause for canonization progresses: "Apostle to the Young" and "Protector of Christian Family Life." These provide an outline for a spiritual portrait of Father McGivney.