As we close out this World Cup Soccer Weekend, some of us celebrating with the victorious Spaniards, others perhaps feeling sorrowful for the second place Dutch team, (or mourning their team’s earlier departure from the tournament?!), I’m mindful of the fullness of this past week’s many experiences — the seeming victories and defeats — and holding them prayerfully before God in gratitude. I wonder: What is it to win on the world’s stage? What is it to claim victory locally? What is it lose? How do we gauge satisfaction in taking first — or conquering another, claiming a title? How do hold loosely the inevitable other side of defeat? What lies in-between?
I’m thinking about all that has occurred this past week in and around 14th and Fremont, North Minneapolis:
- The family Sr. Katherine refers to in her Facebook posts as “J’s” — who seeks shelter when the neglect of their landlord forces them to leave their dwelling. (With two small children to care for, the questions about well-being and resources abound: Is a space available at Mary Jo’s Place? Where will the family go? What will happen to the house and landlord? Will the cops come?) – A defeat?
- That same mom, dad and two boys joins the Sisters for ice cream – before their Tuesday departure from the neighborhood. Again, Sr. Katherine’s Facebook entry documents her heart-felt encounter and prayer: “..this family sets a good tone with their friendliness toward all. They are real survivors. God, work your miracle!” A victory?
- The appearance of “Sam” — an addict seeking aid, who lost his job because he was drinking. SK2’s compassionate post: “Addictions have such a loud voice within. But God is there within, right? Let’s have them ‘meet up.'” A victory or defeat?
- Vocations team members attended a mass and luncheon sponsored by the Serran’s at Our Lady of Grace in Edina. We heard a young woman tell her powerful story about surviving the Columbine School shootings, converting to Catholicism, and now joining the convent. A victory?
- At that same event, we heard the priest state in his homily that only ordained men and women know the fullest intimacy with God, something not possible for married people. A defeat?
It’s so rich! Reflecting on any of our past week’s experiences, I’m certain we’d each find a range of multi-faceted, multi-dimensional encounters that might, on the surface, strike us as simple wins or losses. But I encourage you, in your prayers, to thank God for each of them, and ask to find the graces, the nuances, the possible larger gift in any experience transcending a title of ‘victory’ or ‘defeat.” As Paul reminds us in his letter to the Colossians: God holds it all!
Yes, we have a World Cup Soccer champion in Spain. Blessed be! But my own heart and spirit imagine a God that grants possible graces for the second place Netherlands, that they don’t leave the stage completely and utterly dejected as “losers” –nor any of the prior teams who left before these final rounds.
What does your heart, mind and imagination say?
Sunday evening blessings! Happy new-week contemplations!