Friday, May 27, 2011

A Prayer

Three years ago, the person responsible for Creideamh uttered a prayer of thanksgiving that has since transformed my prayer life. It started like this:

"God, thank you for the European Championships..."

As an homage to that simple utterance of gratitude, here is a prayer of my own ahead of the Champions League final:

God, thank you for soccer. Thank you that it is neither more important nor less important than "real life", but rather a part of it. At its best, it is a reflection of your playfulness, your creativity and artistry, your bringing of order out of chaos and establishment of principles and strictures that enhance enjoyment rather than diminish it. Thank you also for Lionel Messi, who demonstrates to us -- in small part -- the wonder of embodied existence. When we watch this remarkable creaturely display our relentless desire for explanations evaporate and we are left to marvel. But Messi himself points to where our marvel ought to finally be directed - towards the heavens, towards the Creator who gifts his creatures, leaving none to boast.


  1. Glad something of those days mattered to someone! At half time I am struck by how Utd are kept in it by the mastery of their one single categorically outstanding player, while Barca, brimming with historic greats, are bossing the play by being a team. There's probably something Pauline in that.

    Especially if the morally superior Barca end up losing.

  2. Thanks be to Pep, who always leads this Barca team in triumphal procession. I do not remember the great Milan team of the early 80's, but this Barca team must surely be up there with the best. Anyway, that debate is a sidetrack. Great football teams do not compete with one another for the title of "best" -- as Hauerwas might put it, "best" is not a football category. Great football is a tradition in need of expression in each new generation. Therefore when we talk of Di Stefano's Madrid or Pele's Brazil or Cruyff's Holland or Van Basten's Milan or Messi's Barcelona, we are not talking about these teams being against each other but rather them all being part of the same team, in some odd way...kind of like your whole "there's only one church" schtick!