Beautiful Game

23 Sep

In his spiritual classic Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales writes, “The most important thing of all . . . is that you cling firmly to the resolutions you have taken in meditation, so as to practice them carefully.”

This insight really hit home this morning, as I look forward to my son Samuel’s soccer tournament, which begins this evening. Sam’s a fine young player, and the games are so much fun to watch. No wonder it’s called the “beautiful game.”

At the beginning of the season, Sam’s enthusiastic coach gave all the players a CD containing inspirational music, including Wavin’ Flag, the theme song for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that song in the car as I shuttle kids to and from soccer practices and games.

It’s now come to the point that I can be sitting at my desk or on the sofa, and the song will pop into my consciousness. For a moment I think of the beautiful game, and then I redirect my attention to whatever I happen to be doing.

It seems to me that God’s Word, as well as our own “resolutions” or applications drawn from the slow repetition of lectio divina, should also be so deeply rooted in us that it comes back to us from time to time during the day, drawing us to a renewed love and zeal. Sure, we need reminders, such as crucifixes and godly friends, but as people of prayer–as people who, after the example of Our Lady, hear the Word and keep it (see Luke 2:19, 51; 11:27-28)–it seems to me that the best means of calling to mind our resolutions is to have God’s Word so deeply ingrained in us that it’s never too far from our minds and hearts.

I know that I often rush through my prayer, and when I do, what I prayed about doesn’t come back to me very often during the day. But when I chew on a passage of Scripture over and over again, it does come back to me during the day, often at times when I most need a reminder.

I really don’t mind having the soccer song pop into my mind every so often, but even more, I desire to remember resolutions made in my prayer, lest the Word of God be without effect in my life (see 1 Sam. 3:19).

This day, let us take our cue from today’s beloved saint, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina who, despite the great things God did in and through him, simply wanted to be known as “a poor Franciscan who prays.”

2 Responses to “Beautiful Game”

  1. Alex Weber September 23, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    I really enjoyed this blog entry. Thanks Leon!

  2. Joanne Hanson October 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    Thanks so much, Leon, for your words of wisdom. The Holy Spirit surely spoke through you with this blog entry. We all need this reminder.

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