In the past two entries, we reflected on Jesus’ passion and death. These events are indeed essential in our Christian faith. But St. Paul said: “If Christ be not risen again, then is your preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) This is why Easter is the feast of all feasts. It is the most important day of the Church year. Today, Jesus rose from the dead, performing His greatest miracle. His resurrection makes His humanity special, proving He is divine as well.
Through Jesus’ resurrection, we are given new life and a renewed hope for salvation! And this virtue of hope is vital in a Christian’s journey towards achieving his last end – salvation! This spiritual journey can be likened to a sport, something very close to my heart.
In basketball, or in any sport for that matter, the most fundamental quality one must have in order to be successful is a DESIRE or HOPE for triumph. Without hope, you are already a loser. There will be many obstacles and challenges that we will have to face before becoming champions. Just like in our spiritual battle, we will have to overcome temptations and our bad habits or vices. How?
Training. In sports, we train regularly not just to be victorious in one game, but to win an entire tournament. Training requires determination, the will to work on every detail of your game, our skills, strength, endurance, agility, etc. We need to live out the spirit of MAGIS, or a lifestyle of excellence. In our spiritual life, we try to get rid of bad habits (vices) and practice good ones (virtue). It does not happen overnight. We need to keep practicing by doing good deeds and making sacrifices. It’s definitely not easy but here’s a tip. Go and receive the Sacraments regularly to receive graces from God. These will strengthen us and help us overcome such temptations or bad habits.
Consistency. In sports, professional athletes do not just train hard when a championship match is coming up or when you are about to be eliminated from a tournament. Rather, they do it consistently over a period of time (Of course, there are various phases in a training program) so that old skills are perfected and new ones may be developed. Same goes with our spiritual life, we don’t just receive the sacraments or go to spiritual direction when we are ‘lost’ already. We don’t go to confession when our souls are dead, we go before it can get worse. In the same way, a sick man does not go to a doctor when he is dead already.
Humility. This is one of the most important qualities I learned from being an athlete for many years now. Having an open mind to correction and improvement from your coaches or peers plays a huge part in the success of an individual, even if you are the star player. At an early age, we were also reminded that we must be gracious in defeat and humble when we win games. We must acknowledge that our success is a result of a team effort, not ones’ own doing. We must realize that our talent to play basketball, golf or tennis did not come from our hard work or parents’ genes. But these are gifts from God that must be shared with others. In our spiritual life, we must always be thankful to Him for all our gifts. Sometimes we take it for granted and we forget that we are truly blessed. We thank Him for our families, friends, education, material possessions, good health, etc. When we stop comparing what others have and what we don’t, and just be grateful to Him, we become happier.
The only difference in our sports battle and our spiritual battle is this. In sports, there’s only one who brings home the trophy or the gold medal. But in our journey to God, we can all win.
Therefore, this Easter, let’s share the joy that Christ is risen and that He loves us. And we can share in His resurrection when we are converted, when we are given new life. Keep training. Keep converting. Never lose hope.
P.S. If you like this, feel free to pass it to our family and friends to spread the joy of Easter