On Sunday February 19th my Varsity Catholic teammate Melissa and I along with 2 female student athletes had the opportunity to speak to the youth group at St. Cecilia's in Rockaway, New Jersey.
I was very inspired by what the athlete's had to say about their experience of faith in their sports and about the impact that FOCUS and Varsity Catholic has had during their short college careers.
Melissa and I got to share about our own testimonies and our path to being a missionary. We talked about the mission and vision of FOCUS, quoted Tony Dungy and Vince Lombardi. We also talked about the impact of Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin. We read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and talked about what it means to compete as a Christian.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
We talked about how different our Christian lives would be if we exercised the discipline we do towards sports towards our faith. Meaning that we are so willing to commit to daily practice and many sacrifices to improve ourselves as athletes and to improve the team that we're on. We're willing to do almost anything to win a championship or trophy! How re-prioritize our schedules to compete in a sport but when it comes to making a sacrifice for Jesus and our faith, we're often hesitant.
Earlier on Sunday I was thinking about our lack of commitment to our faith and I wrote this and then I read it to the kids tonight......
Our team, the Catholic Church, spans the globe and is the greatest team you'll ever be a part of. The goal or "trophy" of this team is Heaven, the goal is eternal life with Jesus Christ. What if we worked as hard for heaven as we did to win a championship on earth? What if we showed up once a week for our team or sport? Would the NY Giants have won the Super Bowl if they only showed up on Sundays? For too long I thought 1 hour a week (going to mass) was enough. An hour week is not enough for you or your team here. The Catholic Church and Heaven are not places for spectators, they are places for Saints and for champions of the faith in Jesus Christ!"
Then we showed the this video, which I absolutely love!!
More than a Game
We hung out for awhile after the event to talk and have pizza with the kids. It was pleasure to meet them and really appreciated a few of them coming up to shake hands and thank us for coming. So great to see kids excited about being a part of the New Evangelization!