Monday, August 13, 2012

God gets the Gold

Did you notice all the Olympic medals God got this year?

Three of his victories stand out: the smiling Gabby Douglas gave "glory to God"; Irish boxer Katie Taylor praised God and thanked Jesus for her victory, pointing to the heavens as the judge held her right arm up to indicate her win. And then Ethiopian long-distance runner Meseret Defar drew an icon-imprinted cloth from her running bra and held the Virgin and Child out for all to see. 

Critics complain that gestures like these are a kind of arrogance; that the claim that God helped me win this race includes the presumption that God made the others lose.

I see it a bit differently.

I think it's amazing that anyone would have the presence of mind, in a euphoric Olympic gold moment, to offer praise to God ("whom no one has ever seen or can see"). It tells me that these women turn to God all the time. They don't just pull God out on cue in the highlights of life: they bring God into the picture habitually. I am convinced that had any one of these women lost the competition, they still would have found a reason to give glory to God. It's just that no one else would be listening, or have a camera in their face to record it.

Gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin (USA), before her Olympic moment, said in an interview: "God is always there for me. I talk with Him before, during and after practice and competitions...I pray to Him for guidance. I thank Him for this talent He has given me and promise to be a positive role model for young."

St Paul told us that whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, "do all for the glory of God." During the Summer Games, three women showed the world how you do that. You refer everything to God: as Gabby tweeted, quoting the Psalms: "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me."

1 comment:

Marc said...


I find it helpful to pray and say thanks for a lot of things.

For another day of life given to us every morning.

Praying when we cook, in essence asking God to bless the food that we are going eat.

Even praying when we take a shower, that we might be cleansed spiritually of whatever needs to be cleansed, according to His will.

There is an opportunity for prayer in everything.

Small things, not done as publicly as these athletes, but in our hearts. I think both still count, as in our hearts we feel love and give thanks to our Creator who gave us everything, our very life.

I find it interesting to contemplate the idea of living life as if your Creator is watching your every thought and action, with your guardian angel at your side to guide you and protect you. One might also give our guardian angel thanks for being at our side throughout our life! :-).

These athletes show in their heart their gratitude towards their Creator, in a way, in opposition to the modern arrogance and pride of "I did this, it was all me, I can do anything I want, nothing can stop me", etc.

I find it helpful to open and close every prayer with "Above all, despite what we might think or wish, Let Your will be done in my life and in the world, always"

Nice blog, it is nice to find people of faith being active in social media.

Thank you for your service, your prayers and those of your community. It must take some courage to enter religious life, with all the hardships and temptations of our fallen world, which however, after all, are only temporary things.

I couldn't believe how monks or nuns could devote their lives in such a way, until I understood, and more importantly, felt for even a short moment, that what drives such people is love, an unceasing burning love for our Creator, wanting to be closer to Him and letting Him accomplish His will in our lives.

As the benedictines say, Ora et Labora, pray and work, and also "pray that God Who has begun His work in us may bring it to fulfillment".