There has been recent incidences in the past few weeks that have raised many concerns on maintaining peace in our world. In particular, an attack was taken place on people who were vulnerable while attending a prayerful service and another act of violence was a fight between two professional athletes. The synagogue attack in Pittsburgh, PA which took the lives of many innocent people and affected those around them is very tragic and upsetting. Not to the same extent of that attack but, there was a fist fight that occurred between professional NBA players during a game between the Lakers and the Rockets. Both of these events, plus the many other recent disturbing and disappointing events, raise concerns for our country and our world. It also raises questions such as: How are we bringing peace to ourselves? How are we bringing peace into the world? How are we using the lives that have inspired us to do good? How are we, in turn, being role models for others?
With just celebrating All Saints Day and All Souls’ Day, it reminds me to reflect on the examples and lives of the saints and those who have gone before us. These “unseen witnesses” lived their lives through gospel values which set examples for us to see and to carry out these values in our own lives. We are called to be saintly and holy because we are children of God and all of His goodness. The more we share His goodness with others the closer we get to God. The more we steward our God-given talents with others the more peace we bring to the world. The way in which we can “honor as sacred the worth and dignity of each person” is through Respect.
As Team Chaplains, we are placed on a team with the responsibilities of developing and nurturing our student-athletes as good human beings with gospel values. We can guide our student-athletes in the right direction through whatever obstacle they may encounter. Through our University values of RISES, we can be examples of peace and respectfulness. As Team Chaplains, we can even point out specific sport related examples of acts of kindness, character, peace, prayerfulness, and generosity. Take Roy Halladay for instance, God rest his soul.
Former pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, Halladay can be considered one of the best pitchers to ever play the game of baseball but, I am sure his loved ones, his teammates, and even spectators could see how highly he held himself as a man. He was a man of character, leadership, determination, and service. It has been a year since his passing but, we can still continue to learn from him. He will be remembered for his tireless work ethic to become one of the best which then influenced many of his teammates to do the same. As great as Roy was as an MLB pitcher, he was an even better man. His character and his actions would inspire anyone who came into contact with him to become a better person. Roy Halladay was not just a mentor to other pitchers in the MLB but, he was a mentor to us all. He showed us how to win with graciousness and how to lose with dignity. He showed us how to put in the work to become the best. He showed us how to give of ourselves in order to make the world a better place.
Whether it be a saint, a person close to you, or a professional athlete, we will learn that good comes from good. Even when times are tough, we must look at the positives. If we can respect one another for who they are, their faith, their background, ethnicity, race, etc. there would be a lot less violence and a lot more peace in the world. Even on the playing field we need to respect the game itself, our teammates, coaches, chaplains, officials, and opponents. Through respect comes sportsmanship! Hopefully through respecting ourselves and those around us, our actions and decisions will build a world of peace! So ask yourselves today, how am I bringing peace to this world and to myself?
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy;
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in
pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Saint Francis of Assisi pray for us!