This morning, I woke up bleary-eyed and exhausted from staying up too late watching baseball. I nearly didn't make it to Mass at all. As it was, I walked in during the Kyrie. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit this, but I had to FORCE myself to turn off the television during the Red Sox/Angels game to pray my Rosary. Vet appointments and other responsibilities prevented me from carrying out my usual Friday devotions according to my normal routine. Had the Phillies been playing, it would have been even harder to concentrate on prayer. I'm ashamed to admit this but I doubt I am alone.
On Sundays, it often takes every bit of willpower I have to turn off a football game and head down the street for a little time in Adoration. Worse, I used to plea-bargain. "Lord, I'll turn off the game and talk to you for a litle while. How about you let the Cowboys beat the Giants in the meantime?" It's nothing to be proud of and perhaps I shouldn't even joke about it, but I was thinking of my sports addiction during the homily this evening. A young man who has lead an other-wise good life asks Jesus what more he must do to get to Heaven. I put myself in that man's place.
First, I think there is almost nothing among my earthly possessions that I couldn't give up easily. Jewelry means nothing to me; money has no value, tho I clearly recognize the problem of going without any. My furniture is all second-hand. I like the computer but if push came to shove, I'd survive without it. But baseball and football? These would be difficult to give up. Would I? I'd like to think I would. And clearly, I could put myself to the test by turning off the game at a critical point and engaging God in prayer.
Last year, one of the St. Patrick Missionary Fathers came to speak to us at Mass. I swear he was a pupil of Therese, tho he never said so. Anyway, he asked us to consider making some small sacrifices and offer them in prayer on behalf of those he served in the mission. One of his suggestions was to turn off the Phils when the bases are loaded and go to bed without knowing the outcome. I can tell you I've tried this. But it's difficult not to know the score when you live withing earshot of Citizens Bank Park. It's decidedly quieter after a loss and even when I've succeeded in turning off the game, I strain my ears to hear the din from the ballpark. Pathetic. But it's something to work on.