Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Book Review: Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint

Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint
by Danny Abramowicz
Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2004

Today Danny Abramowicz is very active in the Catholic faith. He serves several Catholic organizations, including on the Board of EWTN, the Board of Directors of Catholic Foundation, the Executive Committee for Archbishops Annual Community Appeal, the National Catholic Men’s Fellowship, the President’s Council at St. Joseph’s Seminary College and the Director of the John Paul II Culture Center. This was not always the case, however. For quite a while, Abramowicz was very luke-warm about his faith.

In Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint, Abramowicz tells of how he turned his spiritual life around. He had never completely abandoned his faith, but it was far down on his list of priorities. Football fans will recognize his name from his eight years playing for the New Orleans Saints and his long coaching career. Abramowicz was living in the fast lane and had become an alcoholic. As he states, “My conduct placed a tremendous strain on my marriage. I remember waking up in the morning with a hangover, telling my wife I was sorry, and promising her that I wouldn’t do it again. And lo and behold, sometimes I would be back at it the very next day. This behavior continued even after I retired from football. My wife was at her wit’s end with me. So she, along with some of her friends, began to pray that God would intervene in my life.” One morning, he woke up and decided he needed to talk to a priest. He began attending AA meetings in 1981. The way he words it, “God used [alcoholism] to get my attention.” He soon began attending a Bible study and began hosting a prayer group for men in his home.

Abramowicz compares strengthening one’s spiritual life to strengthening one’s physical condition. He advocates getting the Holy Spirit as one’s personal trainer, scouting out the enemies of the spiritual life, stretching out in prayer, running away from temptation, receiving spiritual nutrition, and resting in the spirit. He offers concrete, practical ways to focus on each of these areas.

While women will profit from reading the Spiritual Workout of a Former Saint, it was written by a man for men. It has been recommended by the National Fellowship of Catholic Men. At a time when fewer and fewer men are found in the pews on Sunday, it is sorely needed. It would make a wonderful gift for the men in your life.

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