I love sports. I love the camaraderie, struggles, and victories. But, I never did care much for the rules. Every movement and decision is judged against an almost Draconian system of rules and regulations. Success is measured according to your ability to follow the rules better than your opponent. There is little introspection; it is either do or not do.
This legalistic paradigm that rules the world of sports (and ruled the world in which Jesus lived) does not work in the Christian life. Ostensibly following the rules is not enough. Our heart, our deepest desires and thoughts must emanate love, compassion, and mercy. Additionally, we must seek to right the wrongs we have committed, or, as Jesus tells us, we will be punished.
It is easy to judge our actions, but it takes effort and time to truly understand the disposition of our hearts. That is why we, like the Psalmist today, must cry out to God for help from the depths of our being. It is from this humble and contrite position alone that we are able to find the strength and knowledge of his redemption.
Our thoughts and actions should, therefore, always seek to grow in virtue. According to Venerable John Paul II, we can even do this through a new understanding of sports. “Every Christian is called to become a strong athlete of Christ. That is, a faithful and courageous witness to his Gospel. But to succeed in this, he must persevere in prayer, be trained in virtue and follow the divine Master in everything.”