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February 7 | Spiritual Battle
We live in a culture obsessed with pleasure and appearances above all else. There is a word for that approach to life: Hedonism.
The motto, the creed, the catch cry of the hedonist is, "If it feels good, do it!"
Whenever hedonism has emerged as a dominant practical philosophy in other cultures and subcultures, it has produced men and women who were lazy, lustful, and gluttonous. Hedonism has been a contributing factor to the demise of every culture and subculture in which it has featured significantly. The Roman Empire is a perfect example.
Among the many saints that battled this hedonistic culture, one in particular stands out as a fierce warrior: Saint Theodore of Heraclea, also known as Theodore the Tyro (meaning young soldier).
Theodore was a Christian soldier in the overwhelmingly pagan Roman army. In the face of his comrades’ hedonistic practices, he took the words of Saint Paul to heart: “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” (Ephesians 6:13) He did not succumb to pleasure-seeking. Quite the opposite, in fact.
When his legion came across the Temple of Cybele, where unspeakable acts were taking place as a form of worship to the goddess, Theodore snuck away from the army and set the temple on fire.
As a result, Saint Theodore of Heraclea was arrested and burned to death.
Saint Theodore’s story is wrapped up in legend and full of intensity, but make no mistake about its relevance today. We’re also living in a culture obsessed with pleasure. We’re constantly being tempted to indulge in what will make us feel good in the moment, but leave us empty inside. And we are all called to be spiritual warriors who battle that temptation every day.
Whenever you feel tempted to chase after empty pleasure, ask God to help you seek him and his dream for your life instead.
What pleasure-seeking temptations do I have to battle in my own heart? Am I wearing the “spiritual armor” of faith, hope, and love?
I choose a life of meaning and service over empty pleasure.
This reflection is brought to you from book title.
Patron Saint of: Soldiers
Also Known As: Theodore the Tyro or Theodore the Recruit
Symbols: Spear and Shield
Feast Day: February 7
Feast Day Shared By: Saint Richard
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