In considering how some athletes go beyond many people’s expectations, we can discover a motivation greater than personal recognition or even a gold medal. Fr. Greg Haake and I discuss how these special athletes and their incredible results are often lifted by a higher good. In this lies the key. We discuss how to perform at our best under pressure, whether an athlete or worker or as one friend to another. We consider a reference in Scripture and many other practical examples to show that in selflessness lies the power to perform with greatness.
When we see athletes compete at the Olympic games, we can be amazed by the height of their achievement. But, we also know that not every athlete achieves the heights they are capable of. Furthermore, it is not simply the outcome of every sporting contest that matters, where there are winners and losers. It is a question of whether the athletes, and also you and I, bring forward all the talent that is within us, independent of our walk in life. C. S. Lewis proposes a source for greater strength and courage. We see this exhibited in the story of David’s remarkable contest with Goliath. Listeners are invited to consider the source of their talents and to solicit God’s aid for their “contests” and life.
I am always especially excited to be able to interview one of Christs’ Vicars here on Earth. Bishop Paprocki is the “Ordinary” for the Diocese of Springfield, the capital of Illinois, and by no means is he”ordinary”. He is probably in the best physical condition of all the US bishops. He runs marathons (18 and counting) and still plays ice hockey (goalie) on an amateur team.
He has written a book–Holy Goals for Body and Soul–that extols the virtues and demands of athletics and their application to life. It is loaded with interesting stories from sports and their practical lessons for everyday life. I highly recommend it as a gift for any athlete or sports enthusiast.
The goalie is the last line of defense, and courage is essential. So it is with a bishop, as he is the final authority for his diocese and when something is wrong, he has the responsibility to address the problem. Bishop Paprocki has taken the heat for his 2012 pastoral letter on a Catholic’s responsibility to take his/er faith into the voting booth, and he has spoken clearly in defense of marriage.
Bishop Paprocki is also a lawyer and quite willing to offer guidance to the Illinois State legislature and other state officials in Springfield. Illinois does not have a strong pro-life/family reputation [ranked 36th by Americans United for Life–www.aul.org/states/illinois], so some recent decisions are surprising. Does he see “evolving”? Is he a stimulant for evolution in Illinois?