There is a famine abroad on the earth, a famine not of bread, for we have had too much of that and our luxury has made us forget God; a famine not of gold, for the glitter of so much of that has blinded us to the meaning of the twinkle of the stars; but a famine of a more serious kind, and one which threatens nearly every country in the world – the famine of really great men. In other words, the world today is suffering from a terrible nemesis of mediocrity. We are dying of ordinariness; we are perishing from our pettiness.
The world’s greatest need is great men, someone who will understand that there is no greater conquest than victory over oneself; someone who will realize that the real worth is achieved, not so much by activity, as by silence; someone who will seek the Kingdom of God and His justice, and put into actual practice the law that it is only by dying to the life of the body that we ever live to the life of the spirit; someone who will brave the taunts of a Good Friday to win the joy of Easter Sunday; who will, like a lightning-flash, burn away the bonds of feeble interests which tie down our energies to the world; who, with a fearless voice, like John the Baptist, will arouse our enfeebled nature out of the sleek dream of unheroic repose; who will gain victories, not by stepping down from the Cross and compromising with the world, but who will suffer in order to conquer the world.
In a word, what we need are saints, for saints are the truly great men. … I assume without further ado that the grace of God is the one thing necessary, and that God will give that grace to those who do His will.
– Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, The World’s Greatest Need (Address delivered January 31, 1932)