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Last Tuesday my son turned nine and got his first RBI. It happened to be on a walk-off single. He had also pitched for the first time and did very well. A birthday that began in Kansas City’s Legoland Discovery Center ended in post-game glory at Dairy Queen. He said it was one of the best days of his life. Out of this world.
Last night, he pitched again and got shelled for 4 runs in the first, and walked in 2 more in the second and got yanked in the third with the bases loaded. They ended up losing 6-0.
What does a father say to a whimpering youngster who is dragging himself from the same field he floated off a week ago?
Basically, this: “That’s life, and that’s the nature of the game. If you are going to anchor your happiness in things like that, you will not be a happy person, because your priorities are screwed up.”
Reading the Catholic blogs after the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Proposition 8, I want God the Father to tussle my hair and put my cap back on and walk beside me as we head for the car.
Yeah, we took a shellacking. The Culture of Life had a setback that it may take generations to undo. We are called to bring the Gospel to our culture and it is running away like a toddler from broccoli.
But I have felt God’s soft and gentle voice, which threw my own words back to me (or was I using his words all along?): “That’s life, and that’s the nature of the game. If you are going to anchor your happiness in things like that, you will not be a happy person, because your priorities are screwed up.”
My purpose in this world is to glorify Him. He told me to pitch my best and I did. I have had good outings, and now I got creamed. And my Father is just as proud of me. He is so much bigger than this game I consider so important.
Yes, it also means that the world is getting tougher for the kids I am raising. They will inhabit a culture that is more inimical to their Faith.
My oldest three were at the BCYC (Benedictine College Youth Conference) last weekend. Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR, in his Bronx accent that sounds more musical to me than his funky bass guitar, told the group of teens and parents at the concluding mass: “Don’t worry so much about the kind of world you are leaving for your kids. Worry much more about the kind of kids you are leaving for the world.”
Jesus has called us. Out of this world. We have to worry about this world, yes. While we are on the field we have to give it our all. But the final analysis will not dwell much on the box score of our lifetime. There is one court that is truly supreme, and it is not in DC. God’s verdict is the only one that matters.
The enemy of our souls doesn’t care if we are elated or down in the dumps. He cares that we stop giving it our best.
By the way, my son didn’t get on base, either. The other team had their ace on the mound, a check-the-birth-certificate-on-that-kid heat hurler. He did draw a walk and then got fanned, mistiming two errant swings and getting fooled for a called third strike. But the last game he faced the flamethrower he kept edging out of the box. This time he hung in there. To me, that was glorious; it was out of this world.
So, yes. The heat is on. The culture is beating down on us. We are lucky to get a piece of anything they throw at us lately. They shouted us down in the Texas State House. SCOTUS threw some nasty stuff by us.
And God the Father, who is so much bigger than history, sees that we aren’t moving. That we are staying locked in, not edging out of the box. For Him, that is glorious. For He called us. Out of this world.