Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A review of Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition

Faith and a man. Faith removes the shell and rough scars of life and renews us like children. Christ sums it up clearly:

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,
and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-3

There is of course more theology to that verse, but the above is a good application. Is there anything else that can take an adult and just with a sight or a smell turn him back into a child in his heart? For many of us there is baseball.

I see a game.
Pick up a mitt, bat or ball.
See a kid with a baseball cap.

And I’m a child again. In my heart I can run as fast as when I was ten. I can dive across a baseball diamond. I can hit a ball a country mile.

A child does not worry about how the Trinity is one God in three divine persons; except by the power of God.

A child does not worry about how the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ; except by the power of God.

And that same child brushes their teeth and dreams about hitting a walk off home run in game seven of the World Series.

I was that child. Millions of us were that child. Think for a moment that you are a child today.

You are ten. You are a baseball fan. You love Mike Sweeny of the Kansas City Royals. And Mike Sweeny says:

“I truly believe that it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. People say, “how can you believe that?” I say, “Why Can’t you believe that?” For me as a man of God, I don’t put restrictions on the Holy Spirit.
-Mike Sweeny

What does that mean to your faith?

You are 10. You love baseball, but you hate getting up for Mass at 7:30 Sunday morning. You love the Cardinals. And Jeff Suppan and David Eckstein talk about how they make it top priority to go to mass no matter how difficult it is with all the travel.

Substitute the players from when you were a child. Who might you be today in your faith, had those words found you? Faith makes you as a child. Baseball makes you as a child. In all honesty that difference can be made in you even today.

Last night I watched a DVD called Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition. This is a DVD where some of the leading figures in Baseball talk about their Catholic faith. It shows that a real man is a man of Christ. And as someone personally devoted to St. Joseph that kind of message is very dear to my heart.

I worried at first: Is this going to be one of those hokey things? Will this be one of the many outreach efforts with tacked on Christianity? Will people be talking in ways that no one talks in real life? Will they be saying words no one says?

That answer is a huge no. It is not hokey or labored in its points. It is natural because these men are honestly and really speaking about their lives. They are sharing stories and a personal love for Christ.

Never in my life did I think that I would hear some of the major figures in Baseball talk about the Eucharist, Prayer and how Christ fills their lives.

For me this film really touched me.

In this age when people around the world suffer for the Love of Christ and many are afraid to speak His name, it is refreshing for young and old to see high profile athletes saying proudly that He is their Lord.

In this age when steroids dominate almost every baseball story it is good for people young and old to see men talking about the lift Christ brings to their life.

People who read this blog know that I don’t sell things. I’m not about that. But I can say with all my heart that if you love baseball and Christ (Catholic or not, though this is a great tool for Catholic Churches, Schools and youth groups) watch this film.

For 65 minutes you will be a child again. Your faith will be alive in your heart and you will be jumping into the ivy at Wrigley field or at the 318 foot mark in Yankee Stadium pulling a home run back in the park.

And then you have the challenge: Continue it past the 65 minutes. Show your youth group. Show your mother and father. Show your Son and Daughter. Show your wife. Be as a child and speak out loud that Christ is Lord.

I learned last night that I can always be a child again. I saw again that the Eucharist needs to be at the heart of my life and that in my heart I can still hit a walk off home run in game seven of the World Series.

Website for Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition (link)

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