Saint Sebastian was a martyr, and a favorite subject of renaissance painters. He is also the only martyr said to have died twice! Sebastian was a Roman soldier and a body guard of the Emperor Diocletan. When he was revealed as a secret Christian, he was ordered to convert, and his refusal resulted in his execution by firing squad. He is invariably depicted at his (first) execution, tied to a post and riddled with arrows. Sebastian was supposedly rescued by another Christian, who nursed him to health, and he began preaching. When discovered, he was beaten to death with clubs in the gladiator’s arena.
Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor’s court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings—for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord. May athletes be always as strong in their faith as their Patron Saint so clearly has been. Amen.