Olympic Athletes in the Spiritual Life.
We need Olympic athletes in the spiritual life.
Saint Paul says: “Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty: I so fight, not as one beating the air: But I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.” (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
Consider what the Olympians go through in training.
All athletes chastise their body in order to obtain a prize, whether it be a gold medal, a super ring or whatever prize is available in their sport.
And the Prophet, Ezechiel (7:19): “Their silver shall be cast forth, and their gold shall become a dunghill. Their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They shall not satisfy their soul, and their bellies shall not be filled: because it hath been the stumblingblock of their iniquity.”
Olympic teams have an Olympic Training Center, where athletes train. And they train all of the time, not just before the Olympics. Consider the effort put in for a chance at a medal every four years.
My brothers and sisters, we need a Spiritual Olympic Training Center where we train for the Spiritual Olympics.
I am talking about a place that you have set aside in your home, out in the woods, some where private where you can spend time with God allowing him to work in your heart. To "strive for mastery" over sins in your life whether they be venial or mortal. "chastising your body, and bringing it into subjection", a training ground for the race that is set before you.
Unlike secular games, where only a few get prizes, in the spiritual life we can all get a medal. Only one out of thirty-two teams will win the Super Bowl this season. Eleven teams will certainly lose their last game in the playoffs.
Some of the Saints said that the greatest saints would live in these times. All of us are called to be these saints. This is no time for mediocrity. Remember ONLY SAINTS GO TO HEAVEN.
“Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Remember saints go to heaven, and therefore saints are the only ones that go to Purgatory, because all eventually leave Purgatory for Heaven. Basically Purgatory is for those who are not quite ready for Heaven. The mediocre will inherit Hell. Make no mistake, there are what I call "balanced" Catholics that will all most likely burn for eternity in hell. By balanced Catholics I am referring to those who try to do a balancing act with their Catholic faith and their own desires. Not to much religion but never wanting to give up to much of themselves. They become prideful because they have been able to balance it all. Instead there should be shame and penance over their double minds! St. James says that a double minded person is unstable in all their ways. It will all come crashing down on them in the end.
But what did Jesus say in last Sunday's Gospel?
“No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) The Douay notes: “Mammon: That is, riches, worldly interest.”
I recommend a "training manual", Directorium Asceticum- a guide to the spiritual life, starting with volume one. Frater Francis Dominic provides us with wonderful instructions, which we all need to take to heart, especially his instruction on the spiritual man, which we are all called to be. http://vaticaninexile.com/
So what are you waiting for?
There is no time like the present! Do not wait for a better time. The time for training is now! Do not wait for a new year because your life is but dust. A life that can be snuffed out at any moment! Indeed, we should be in training right now wherever God has placed us.