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St Crispin and Crispinian
Martyrs (entered heaven probably towards the end of the third century)
Thanks for sending me the rather amusing photo of you and your roommates. Nice to see your smiles and camaraderie. I happened to notice that you were quite unshaven, your hair was unkempt, and your clothes appeared not to have been washed in too long. As your conscientious uncle, I feel that it is my duty to remind you that your body and soul are linked; the way we treat our body and our appearance always affects our soul. If I am physically sloppy and lazy, chances are my soul will get just as messy as my room – and a messy soul is a seedbed for temptation. If two months of college have sufficed to strip off your old habits of cleanliness and self-respect, they weren’t habits at all. But now you have a chance to work on this point, and I would encourage you to do so. Take today’s saints, for example.
They seem to have been brothers who left Rome in order to spread the gospel in northern Gaul (today’s France). They took up residence at Soissons, and followed in the footsteps of St Paul, discoursing and instructing the people during the day, and earning a living by making and fixing shoes (St Paul made tents) at night. It is said that they only accepted payment for their work on a voluntary basis, and in this way won the hearts of many who were astonished by their selflessness and detachment from riches. They made numerous converts and thereby also made enemies among the pagan leaders, who soon denounced them. After refusing to sacrifice to the Roman gods, the two saints were brutally tortured and finally beheaded.
Besides their obvious zeal for spreading the faith and courage in professing it, you should emulate their truly Christian spirit of hard work and self-discipline (evangelizing by day and earning their living by night). There’s no need to go on dramatic fasts and perform extreme penances; you can show your desire to conquer your own selfish tendencies by maintaining simplicity and order among your things and your appearance. It takes constancy, humility, and self-discipline – three virtues that the Holy Spirit needs your help to develop. I hope you don’t let him down.