The 2012 Olympic games in London are just around the corner, and with it comes a lot of media coverage on the athletes, and their journeys to get to the games. Many of their stories are inspiring and incredible. The work ethic, discipline, strength, will and desire to win gold is something that many of us could never achieve, because many of us lack the talent obviously, but because many of us lack the stamina to work that hard, for so many years. I have coached several very athletic people over the years, who were good enough for a scholarship, but they didn’t want to work hard for it, and thus they missed out on that opportunity.
I think that is why the Olympics are so inspiring, because they remind us that in life, if we want anything, we need to work for it. But, while much of the world is concerned about winning material things, how many of us are concerned about winning heaven? How many think that heaven is easy to get to? Is just being baptized good enough, or do we truly need to live out our faith everyday?
It is not easy to be Christian, let alone Catholic in this day and age. Not only are we ridiculed as believing in fairytales and having low IQs, but on top of all that, we need to have determination, strength, will, perseverance and courage, just to live out the high standards that Christ set for us.
If an Olympic athlete decided to skip practice because he didn’t feel like it, if he didn’t train regularly, eat properly, or prepare his mind mentally he would not only, not win gold, but he probably wouldn’t even qualify. So, how can we expect to win heaven by being lazy or apathetic in our faith?
The drawback about desiring to win a gold medal, is that no matter how hard you work and train, you still need talent and even then you could come up short. But, there are no drawbacks for desiring heaven because God desires each and every one of us to win, and he gives us what we need to win. It won’t be easy, but if one sincerely strives to live the life Christ demands from us we can attain the ultimate victory.
Perhaps, it is easy to eventually get to heaven, a detour in purgatory of course, but I think it is very very hard to go straight to heaven. I’m reminded by a couple quotes, from two of my favourite authors, which points out how difficult it is to be Christian and to ultimately get to heaven:
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.GK Chesteron
“I didn’t go to religion to make me “happy.” I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” CS Lewis
We have Olympic athletes to inspire us to dream and achieve our goals in this earthly life, but let us not forget that we have a higher calling, one that won’t fade in time, but will go on and on in eternity. Like sports have their top athletes, Catholics have their Saints who show us, and inspire us all reach for the heavens.