February 23 -- St. Dositheus
St. Dositheus was born in the middle of the sixth century. His early life was filled with frivolity and worldliness with no place for the Catholic faith. During a trip to Jerusalem, he was moved by a painting of tormented souls suffering abominable tortures in Hell, even though its full meaning alluded him.
At that moment, an extraordinarily beautiful lady approached him and explained the significance of Heaven, Hell and the Last Judgment. The explanation struck a healthy fear of condemnation in his soul and prompted him to ask the remedy to avoid eternal damnation. The Lady responded," You must flee sin and pray" and she, then disappeared.
Upon hearing this advice, St. Dositheus fled to a monastery where he was taught to control his will and his passions. He learned patience and confidence by taking care of patients in the monastery infirmary. St. Dositheus was an excellent student and learned the virtues of the spiritual life so well that on his deathbed, he asked his superior to give him an order to die.
Reading the life of St. Dositheus one is tempted to think that he was a "soft and fearful" man who ran away and hid himself in a monastery where everything goes smoothly and easily. But, on further reflection, we know that the Church canonizes only heroes and St. Dositheus is no exception.
Long hours of prayer and contemplation along with constant subjection of one's will to the will of his superior produced the self renunciation and love of God that is required for sanctity. Even his moment of death was an act of obedience!
Let us ask St. Dositheus to give us the grace of contemplating the good things in God's plan as coming from Him and the evil things coming from the Devil and his followers. May we have such an obedience to the precepts of the Catholic Church that we reject everything that stands in the way of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.