Skip to comments.
On the Lordís Team! A Reflection on Sports as an Image for the Christian Life
Archdiocese of Washington ^
| Msgr. Charles Pope
Posted on 07/07/2014 3:21:25 AM PDT by markomalley
The World Cup captured a lot of attention these past few weeks. I puzzle a bit as to the popularity of soccer since it seems that almost no one ever scores. A fan corrected me, saying that I sounded like a typical American who cares only about results. He said that most soccer fans appreciate the game for its own sake, for the skill and teamwork involved. All right, Ill accept the judgment I received. I am surely in the minority since a vast percentage of the world deeply appreciates the game. I am also aware of the need to be wary of caring only about results, scores, and winning. There is, or should be, more to sports than scoring and winning.
However, I am mindful that St. Paul used the image of an athlete to describe the Christian life in several places and he did talk about winning. Consider this one:
- Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified ( 1 Cor. 9:25-27).
And yet even here it is clear that Paul has more in mind than just winning. Clearly there are many virtues necessary in the athlete that are also essential for the Christian.
- Discipline - The athlete must carefully and persistently train the body. Without a clear and repetitive discipline, the sport will not be mastered, and neither will the body have proper stamina, strength and coordination. Athletes train every day and work to perfect their mastery of the sport. So too must Christians undertake a clear discipline, and persistently train in the ways of faith through prayer, scripture, sacraments, moral virtue and self mastery. The Christian must practice every day.
- Persistence - The Athlete must follow discipline all the time, not just occasionally. To fail in persistent training not only jeopardizes good performance, but it risks injury. So too for the Christian. We cannot expect much progress with an on-again, off-again regimen. Without a persistent good habit of prayer, scripture, sacraments and practicing of moral virtue the Christian not only stunts progress but also risks injury (sin).
- Willingness to obey rules - Every sport has rules that must be accepted and followed. The athlete is not free to reinvent the game. They must play by the rules or risk exclusion and disqualification. S0 too the Christians must play by the rules set by God. If we are going to be on the winning team and secure the victory, we have to abide by the rules. To refuse this, is to risk being disqualified. We are not free to reinvent Christianity as so many try to do today. There is only one playing field and one game. Follow the rules or risk being ejected.
- Vigilance for signs of injury A good athlete listens carefully to his or her body and any signs of injury. If injury is detected they see the team doctor quickly and take measures to heal as quickly as possible. Further they avoid injury by learning proper form, stretching etc. So too for the Christian. We must monitor ourselves for injury and upon discovery of even minor injury, we should consult our team physician, the priest, and get on the mend quickly. Further we should avoid injury by learning proper Christian form (moral life) and avoiding what ever leads us to sin (a kind of stretching to avoid moral injury).
- Teamwork - Many sports involve learning to work together for the goal. Athletes cannot merely seek glory for themselves, they must have the good of the whole team in mind. They must learn to work with others toward the common good and overcome any idiosyncrasies or selfishness that hinders the common goal. So too Christians must strive to overcome petty and selfish egotism and work for the common good, learning to appreciate the gifts of others. The team is stronger than the individual alone. Life is about more then just me. When others are glorified, so am I, if I am on the same winning team.
Well, you get the point. Why not add a few of your own thoughts on how sports is a good analogy for the Christian life?
To: AllAmericanGirl44; Biggirl; Carpe Cerevisi; ConorMacNessa; Faith65; GreyFriar; Heart-Rest; ...
posted on 07/07/2014 3:22:52 AM PDT
(Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good -- Leo XIII)
To: markomalley; Tax-chick; GregB; Berlin_Freeper; SumProVita; narses; bboop; SevenofNine; ...
posted on 07/07/2014 4:54:37 AM PDT
("You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears." James 4:14)
Msgr. Pope supports his boss, Cardinal Wuerl, in refusing to obey Canon 915, which forbids committing the mortal sin of giving Communion to people who are notorious, obstinate grave sinners.
Wuerl takes this position because he does not want to displease supporters of abortion and gay marriage, like Nancy Pelosi.
Wuerl calls his mortal sin “a pastoral approach.”
... how sports is a good analogy for the Christian life
I think it's useful to point out that it's one thing to say, "Sports is a good analogy for the Christian life," and something else again to say, "Sports is good for the Christian life."
posted on 07/07/2014 5:11:17 AM PDT
Maybe I am just ignorant but I can see nothing in professional sports that I can compare with Christ`s teaching.
Paul did make the analogy, but I would rather keep it simple, so if I read anything except the gospel to get a better grasp I read James.
Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.
In sports or war it is do to them before they do it to you.
posted on 07/07/2014 6:41:58 AM PDT
Seeing the Gospel in the everyday.
posted on 07/07/2014 7:08:26 AM PDT
(¬ďGo, do not be afraid, and serve¬Ē-Pope Francis)
Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual
posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its
management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the
exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson