Doesn’t it seem like it was just yesterday when the world was watching the Cubs win the 2016 World Series in baseball over the Cleveland Indians? Now, here we are and the 2017 exhibition baseball season is already under way. All the great players are gathering with their major league teams and have started their drills, and preparation for “spring time” baseball.
The Springfield State Journal-Register had a wonderful article about our Chatham native Jayson Werth, now 37, and still a starter for the Washington Nationals. Werth has truly made our area so proud with his great accomplishments as a professional ballplayer. I have watched him and always was a fan when he was first on the Phillies and since then with the Nationals. Twenty years ago graduating from Glenwood High School, I wonder who knew he would do so well. His hard work and relentless dedication to the sport has brought him to “star” status. You can’t achieve this without a total investment, 110 percent and more.
As spring training begins for baseball we here in the diocese are busy preparing, too. The great synod of 2017 is to begin in April at the chrism Mass. Hundreds of folks are busy with the task of preparing for this historic time of spiritual growth for the diocese and all its members. Have you “exercised” your right to participate in this preparation by reflecting and answering the synodal questionnaire? (Please see page 12.)
At any training camp it takes full participation: full investment of time, sweat, physical and mental preparation and a passion for the game for any team to rise to the heights of becoming a champion. In discipleship it really is the same. Look at Paul’s writings after his conversion; he spoke now with confidence, a sense of fearlessness. He gives his all in following Christ, because he has a personal relationship with Christ who Paul knows “gave his all.”
Discipleship is not a game though, but by the Lord’s own invitation it is a “way of life” that God is calling us to study about, seek formation for, and be led by grace into choosing “what I want to be — and more so who I want to be.”
I bet Werth, as a talented and gifted high school ball- player, had thoughts and dreams about being in the major leagues. We know that so few people ever make it to the “big leagues” in any sport. He did, and what a career he has had. I wonder what it was like for him to first receive that call. Thanks, Jayson, for the memories.
Go to sleep tonight and dream about the call. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak. Our coach is the Trinity. He is calling us individually and as a diocesan “team” to take the next step in our faith journey and come up to the “majors” as a true intentional disciple of Jesus Christ.
The time for this synod is now. It is our time! Find the passion in answering the call. As the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, this spring training for us can truly be exciting. Don’t sit on the bench or up in the stands as a spectator. He’s calling your number, so come get in the game!