It’s a long season to navigate the roller-coaster peaks and valleys of our spirituality.
by Steven Meyerhoff
I’ve been a Catholic all my life, which is now more than 52 years. Now I can’t claim to have been a baseball fan for that long, but it’s pretty close. After all these years, I have recently made this connection: Baseball players report to spring training to prepare for the upcoming baseball season, and Christians enter the season of Lent to prepare for the Easter season.
Baseball players are invited to spring training camp for the opportunity to work on their skills – hitting, fielding, pitching, bunting—and to earn the opportunity to “go north” from their Florida and Arizona camps to their home cities. It’s a time of preparation for the players to work on their physical fundamentals while mentally preparing for the long season ahead. Veteran players are asked to show the rookies the “right way” to do things for the ultimate reward–making the team.
During spring training, ballplayers practice endurance for the long-haul of the season. Streaks of enthusiasm are wonderful, but inevitably, there will be slumps to endure. They must trust that an every-day approach to playing the game will balance the highs and lows.
Just as teams invite ballplayers to spring training, the Lord invites Catholics to the spiritual camp of Lent. Lent, like spring training, is a time for Catholics to work on their spiritual fundamentals such as contemplative prayer, formal prayer (Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and Eucharistic Adoration) and regularly reading the Word of God.
Lent gives Catholics the opportunity to renew our energies, our faith and our commitments to the Lord and to the Church. It’s a time for church veterans (parents and otherwise) to lead by example, exhibiting Christ-like behavior to be emulated.
Lent is a time for Catholics to be enthusiastic about their faith and the coming Resurrection of the Lord. But it’s a long season to navigate the roller-coaster peaks and valleys of our spirituality. We must trust to live our faith day after day, not just on Sundays and Holy Days.
And, ultimately, aren’t we as Catholics working to “go north” for the ultimate reward?
Ernie Banks, one of baseball’s greats, passed away on January 23. He was famous for his enthusiasm for the game and for his saying, “Let’s play two.”
This Lent, with holy enthusiasm, I say, “Let’s pray, too.”