Lent: Disciplining oneself; the hardest thing…


While all the runners in the stadium take part in the race, the award goes to one man. In that case, run so as to win! Athletes deny themselves all sorts of things. They do this to win a crown of leaves that withers, but we a crown that is imperishable. I do not run like a man who loses sight of the finish line. I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. What I do is discipline my own body and master it, for fear that after having preached to others, I myself should be rejected. – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

We are called to holiness – to run the race without losing sight, to fight both in shadows and light.

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” – Revelation 2:10

“…To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it.”‘ – Revelation 2:17

A few notable modern saints missing from that video (click links for their bios):

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe: …In 1906 at Pabianice, at age twelve and around the time of his first Communion, he received a vision of the Virgin Mary that changed his life.

I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both. -Saint Maximilian.

On May 1941 he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. He was assigned to a special work group staffed by priests and supervised by especially vicious and abusive guards. His calm dedication to the faith brought him the worst jobs available, and more beatings than anyone else. At one point he was beaten, lashed, and left for dead. The prisoners managed to smuggle him into the camp hospital where he spent his recovery time hearing confessions. When he returned to the camp, Maximilian ministered to other prisoners, including conducting Mass and delivering communion using smuggled bread and wine.

In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place, and died as he had always wished – in service. source. Read more about this tremendous saint here.

Venerable Pierre Toussaint
Freed slave; merciful and compassionate philanthropist; “Jesus can give you nothing so precious as himself, as his own mind. Do not think that any faith in him can do you good if you do not try to be pure and true like him.”

Servant of God Solanus Casey
Humbled Franciscan friar and “Doorkeeper”; “I’m offering my suffering that all might be one.”

Servant of God Dorothy Day
Founder of The Catholic Worker, Benedictine Oblate; “”No human creature could receive or contain so vast a flood of love and joy as I often felt after the birth of my child. With this came the need to worship, to adore.”

St. Gianna Beretta Molla
Mother & Physician; “If you must decide between me and the child, do not hesitate. Choose the child – I insist on it. Save the baby.”

There are so many more…

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • dellbabe68

    My God daughter is named after St. Gianna!

    That was quite a story about the two crowns. Geez, I guess I’ll go back and reevaluate my Lenten reflections.

    I’ve never seen a picture of Pierre Toussaint as an older gentleman.

    Thanks for all the stuff like this. I love that it comes from a lay person, too.

  • kerrywmson

    Actually – Maximillian Kolbe was in the video, but no harm mentioning him twice.

    Lovely video, thank you for sharing it with us.

  • TheAnchoress

    Was he? Can’t believe I missed him. I’ll have to watch again. Love Kolbe.

  • joelwickham

    When I first heard about Maximillian Kolbe sacrificing himself for Francis Gajowniczek, I thought “What an idiot! All St Maximillian did was buy Francis a few more days before he too would be killed.” (As I recall, Francis was a Jew.) Then I heard that Francis was present at St. Maximillian’s canonization! St. Maximillian bought him a lifetime.

  • http://none Darrell

    Dorothy Day, really?

    I suggest people do a lot more reading about her real work–bringing converts to Marx, through the International Workers of the World(and the Industrial Workers of the World). My seventh grade teacher, Sister Amelia, who said she worked with Ms Day, was upset when people first starting talking “Saint” in the 60′s. She said that whenever another Sister started to talk about Christ at the mission, Dorothy would say “Maybe instead of that crap about the next life, you’d rather read about what’s going on in this one(handing out a Workers World).” Feeding the poor with money raised from Catholics to bring them to Marx. Maybe we need to take another look at Che Guevara, too.

    Too bad a lot of the thorough research wasn’t done while the witnesses were still alive to testify.

    As a bit of trivia, Dorothy Day was the inspiration behind the character Sister Edith in the Star Trek episode “City on the Edge of Forever” written by Harlan Ellison. If you recall, Kirk and Spock have to follow Dr. McCoy through an alien time portal because McCoy accidentally alters the time-line by saving the very anti-war and very persuasive Sister, who goes on to prevent the US from entering WWII.

    I’m sorry. I think you have to set aside Marx as the first step of any religious conversion. That said, I know it is in God’s hands. She is quoted as saying “Don’t call me a Saint.” I’ll take her at her word.

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  • http://tastemyrainbow.net dividebyzero

    You are insane!

    If Dorothy Day does not exemplify the Christian mission on this earth than no one does! How does the work of Mother Teressa qualify for canonization and not that of Sister Dorothy?

    She lived every moment for the benefit of humanity as a whole and if you can’t put aside your fear-mongering beliefs of socialism in order to see that then you really need to go back and start your Catechism all over again.

    Being Catholic and being Socialist are not at odds with one another and many Catholics all over the world can see that and have seen that for ages. The Catholic Workers continue their important mission to this day all over the world. Are you to tell me they are some how less Christian than you because they believe we should all work together for the sake of each other? If so then maybe you should add to your re-education a class on world history and what it really means to be a Socialist.

    I’m not Catholic but I come from a Catholic family and a Catholic town (St Louis, MO). Dorothy Day and the wonderful Catholics of STL especially the congregation of St Stanislaus Church (www.stanislauskostka.com) are what define good Catholics and helped shape my view of the religion despite the reputation it has in parts of the world (and the US).

    Thank you to the site owner for including Sister Day in such a list.

  • http://none Darrell

    We know what you get when you divide by zero.

    We all know the kind of deep respect Marx had for religion and God. And his plan for them. And those who Believe.

    Irrationality does not stop with numbers. Some destroy from without. Some try to destroy from within.
    Some are not fooled. Sell your snake oil somewhere else.