Starting the Race

“The relinquishment or sale of temporal goods possessed in this world is not the completion but only the beginning of the race in the stadium; it is not, so to speak, the goal, but only the starting point. In fact, the athlete does not win because he strips himself, for he undresses precisely in order to begin the contest, whereas he only deserves to be crowned as victorious when he has fought properly.” – St. Paulinus of Nola

I found this great quote in the book, The Fathers – by Pope Benedict XVI. St. Paulinus of Nola was an early bishop of the Church and a contemporary of St. Augustine. At one point he gave up his entire political career, sold all of his possessions, and gave everything he had to the poor. This marked the true beginning of his life in Faith. For then he was free to fully dedicate his life to serving others and Christ – eventually becoming Bishop of Nola.

Detaching one’s self from worldly goods is certainly a key part of the Christians journey. But it’s truly only the beginning of the Christian life. The trouble is that most of us are lucky just to get to this beginning by the end of our lives!

Lord, have mercy.

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