"What is a saint?
A saint is someone who has achieved a very remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is because it is beyond our imagination. I think it has something to do with the energy of boundless love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise and experience of a strange kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago.
I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man even attempting to set the universe in order by himself. It is a kind of tortured balance that is his glory. He rides the snow drifts like an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world (because he was instructed to do so) that he gives himself completely to the laws of gravity and chance.
Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is totally at home in the world. He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of their hearts. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."
- Leonard Cohen, in the intro to the novel, Beautiful Losers (1966)