Sunday, December 8, 2019

Sacred Places, Sacred Spaces: Football Field in Notre Dame Stadium

When asked What do you do? or  How so you serve? Mother Teresa responded with three simple words: Come and see. She never explained anything about her ministry. Rather, she let the work speak for itself. I like that approach.
I am often asked what a class like Sports and Spirituality is all about. Perhaps I should take a tip from Mother Teresa and offer my own three simple words: Look and listen. Viewing "Sacred Places of Notre Dame: A Daily Advent Journey—Football Field in Notre Dame Stadium" serves as the perfect answer. I hope you will watch it here.

The grabber on the PrayND webpage states: Follow senior football player Daelin Hayes onto the field at Notre Dame Stadium as he reflects on how that place draws him closer to God. I think people should know his testimonial speaks to how sports are spiritual. He thoughtfully and earnestly articulates his belief in God, what God has given to him and what he gives back to God.. He says
I believe that when you are born, God gives you a unique set of gifts and what you do with those gifts is completely predicated on you. My gift was football and I used the game to give that glory back to God. 
Even after I leave Notre Dame I know I’ll feel connected to that field, not just because of big plays I made there, but because of the many times I knelt down, prayed, and committed myself to use my gifts to serve God and serve the world.
Hayes professes his connection to the field. This is the very space where I do not doubt he feels connection to his teammates, coaches, and to his school. This space, these people and this place connect him to God.
If I proclaim one thing over and over again in Sports and Spirituality it's this: connection serves a portal for understanding spirituality. Connection is a much more than a feeling—it is a recognition, an understanding and realization in one. All humans long for connection. It speaks to our nature—who we are and what we long for. God longs to connect with us; connection is the spark of a relationship. It feeds my soul.

While the field is where the athlete finds connection, how fitting—and beautiful— that a Notre Dame usher finds the student section, inside the very same stadium is a place of sanctity for him. You can watch that here. 
So this Advent, I hope you will enjoy the entire series from the ND Alumni Association. I know I anticipate the text I receive each evening that invites me to watch and pray. It serves as an opportunity to "quiet my heart and still my minds to prepare for the coming of the Lord." I prayerfully consider the questions I am being asked. For example, Daelin Hayes concludes by reflection by stating "This Advent, let us all consider what gifts has God given to us and how we can use them to serve others."

Thank you Daelin for raising questions that are at the heart of my curriculum. Sports and Spirituality has found another great teacher in your testimony. We, your fans and teammates are all witnesses.

Photo Credits
see Faith ND, Advent 2019

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