Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest

There are a lot of sports events going on right now.  The Paralympics began a few days ago.  Major League Baseball’s pennant races are coming down to their last couple of weeks.  The National Football League’s regular season starts this weekend.  So let’s ask ourselves what we can learn from athletes, just as St. Paul once did in his first letter to the Corinthians.

St. Paul highlighted two important aspects of athleticism: goal-setting and self-discipline.  “Run so as to win,” he said. “Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.”

Two thousand years later, an Olympic champion recounted setting his goals this way: “I dreamt for the biggest possible thing I could think of.”  In other words, he stoked up his hunger for a success that was as big as he could possibly imagine, and he gave free rein to his imagination to dream big.

In prayer, we should do something similar, because the Christian dream is no little dream.  Athletes strive to win a perishable crown, and we know what those are, but we strive for an imperishable crown.  What is this crown?  It is hard for us to imagine it, although some holy souls have caught a glimpse of it in prayer, and the blessed see it now in heaven.  May God’s grace move us to hunger and to dream for the highest and best things of all.

September 9th, 2016