Posted October 4, 2009
Book: Crossing the Goal: Playbook on the Virtues
Authors: Danny Abramowicz, Peter Herbeck, Brian Patrick, Curtis Martin
Emmaus, Steubenville, OH. 2009. Pp. 98
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
Deep inside us, there’s a desire to be great. That’s a call from God.
How do we find that greatness inside us?
1. Recognize the crisis. The world is radically broken
2. Realize that you were made for a purpose, and that purpose is to become great.
3. You have to get outside your comfort zone and push yourself.
But first things first. Crossing the Goal: Playbook on the Virtues shows you that you’re meant for greatness, but it takes strength to get there. Coach Danny Abramowicz, analysts Peter Herbeck and Curtis Martin, and sports anchor Brian Patrick provide real solutions to the spiritual challenges men face.
An Excerpt from the Book:
The Saint in Training
St. Augustine, one of the greatest interpreters of Scripture, interprets Paul for us:
We’re in training, Paul says. He is telling us not to treat our body as if it were the enemy, but to treat it the way a coach treats a player. It’s hard work and you have to keep at it, but the training will be worth it in the end.
What he implies here is that they give up control to their bellies, and — pretending to be perfect — satisfy their won gluttony. He was working to express the same idea when he said “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food.” He knows that fornication is caused by luxury, and that it leads to idolatry, so he naturally warns them against this disease often. And he sets up his own example for them, pointing out how much he suffered for the Gospel.
“It wasn’t easy for me to go beyond the commands,” he says (for we endure all things). “And likewise here I go through a lot of work to live soberly. Hunger is stubborn, and the belly is a tyrant. But I keep them under control and don’t give in. I work very hard not to be led astray by my appetite.
“Don’t think I get the results I want just by taking it easy. It’s a race, a struggle all the way. That tyrant nature is always fighting me and trying to break free. But I don’t put up with it. I keep it down, and bring it under control with many struggles.”
Now, he says these things so that no one will give up the fight for virtue just because it’s hard work. That’s why he says, “I pommel my body and subdue it.” He doesn’t say, “I kill it,” or “I punish it.” We’re not supposed to hate the flesh. But he says “I pommel my body and subdue it.” That’s the role of a master not an enemy. He treats his body the way a gymnastics teacher treats his student, not the way someone would treat an adversary.
The Red Zone
1. Something inside us tells us we could be great. How do we do it?
2. We’re made to fight — we like aggressiveness. But we run from the toughest battle – the one in the heart.
3. We like a challenge, but fear of failure tempts us to disengage.
4. Self-pity tempts us to give ourselves permission to play with sin.
5. St. Paul reminds us that we need to fight the battle all-out.
6. We need to remember that we have a commitment to be the best we can be: the best dad, the best husband, the best man.
7. Knowing you’re not alone helps. Getting together with other guys helps.
8. Conversion to Christ gives us personal loyalty to persevere.
9. Living in the truth — not playing games — is the first step.
10. You need a prayer life: without it you can’t make it.
Lord, change me
I’m struggling down here.
Please help me.
11. Talk to God the way you’d talk to a friend. Then go find friends who also talk to God.
12. Scripture is one of the biggest ways God talks to us. You meet Jesus personally there.
13. Start in the New Testament. Meet Jesus right away.
Table of Contents:
2. Perseverance: staying in the game
3. Temperance: getting in shape
4. Temperance: removing the junk
5. Wisdom: living the truth
6. Justice: giving what is due
7. Faith: a radical choice
9. Love: an act of the will