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Friday, January 29, 2010


Dr John James

I'm amazed how many will laud the sacrifices of sportsmen and women, especially at the elite level, and the often fearful discipline they impose on themselves to be the "best', but the same people cannot grasp the need to approach the struggle to be close to Christ with a similar outlook.
Christianity is often seen or represented, by 'the world', as something for 'marshmellows', for the weak and the timid.
This was brought home to me a few years ago when an Australian boxer had just retained his World Title, in his division, but had taken a fearful pounding in doing it.
By his own admission, he had broken bones in both hands, his face was unrecognisable immediately after the fight, and he had haematuria.
Similarly, the classic fight between Ali and Frazier, which I personally think one of the all time great fights, saw Joe Frazier triumph over his nemesis, but absorb an enormous amount of punishment in the process.
A priest for whom I have a great love, St Josemaria, used to say that "love has its roots in the shape of a cross", by which I understood him to mean that if we're going to love God and those around us, to say "yes" to them, this will often mean saying "no" to ourselves, and that is often tough.
We have to pray to be 'tough', and corporal mortification is just 'prayer of the senses'.

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