The Gift


Legend has it that Hall of Fame baseball player Ted Williams had amazing vision. These visual gifts included being able to read the label on a 78-rpm record as it revolved on the turntable. They say he could count the stitches on a fastball as it sped towards him at the plate. Ted himself said that he was able to see the baseball “flatten” against the fat of his bat when he made contact with it. We know from military records that his vision was 20/10. So no matter what else, Ted did have exceptional vision. This is part of what made him, arguably, the greatest hitter that ever played the game. But great visual gifts aren’t enough to explain his record-setting career. Ted practiced hitting every waking hour. He swung a bat, swung a board, swung a broomstick—whatever he had at hand. He talked hitting with teammates and coaches and anyone who’d listen. He studied pitchers and their statistics. If Ted was awake, he was thinking, studying, and practicing hitting. It was the air he breathed.

Christians believe that our faith is a gift, too. God gives us this gift freely, out of His great love for us. We Catholics believe that God wants all of us to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth (I Timothy 2:4). We believe that we first receive the gift of faith in our Baptism, but it is up to use to use our faith to grow in our relationship with Jesus. We know that not everyone chooses to do this. Just like everyone with the gift of exceptional vision doesn’t go on to hit like Ted Williams. To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God and through the Sacraments of His Church. We must beg The Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity, abounding in hope and rooted in the faith of the Church”(Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 162). Ted Williams was given the gift of great vision, but it was what he did with that gift that made him an outstanding hitter. He could have chosen a different path or chosen not to develop his vision for any purpose at all. Instead, he grew that gift into something remarkable. We must do the same with our gift of faith.

In our relationship with Jesus, we’re called to follow Him. In order to do that, we have to know Him and know what He wants for our lives. Spending time reading Scripture and praying about what we’ve read helps us to grow in our faith. Reading about the saints can show us how people just like us became close friends of God and lived holy lives. Praying is an intimate communication with God. We pray that God will increase our faith and draw us deeper into His love. But reading the Bible and praying calls us out of ourselves so, on their own, they aren’t enough. Ted Williams wouldn’t have become a great hitter by sitting on the bench. He had to get up and get into the game. God asks us to love and to serve the people in our lives, beginning with our family. Our parish is our faith family and when we serve the parish, we allow God to increase our faith. The Lord places people in our path every day—our friends, our coworkers, strangers—and these encounters are opportunities for us to serve others and to grow in our faith.

Our gift of faith grows when we share it with others. No act of service to another person is every “wasted.” Each time we act in charity, we get a hit—to continue using baseball language. Our Christian faith is lived out in relationships—with God, with our family, and with other people. In this new year, don’t sit on the bench and keep this great gift of love to yourself. Ask God to show you how He’d like you to grow closer to Him. This is how we help build His kingdom.

“The fruit of love is service; the fruit of service is peace.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hugh Hubble
    Jan 11, 2015 @ 23:51:55

    Very good article, well said. God bless you.


  2. Adoration Rocks (@AdorationRocks)
    Jan 12, 2015 @ 00:12:36

    My dear husband will like the sports and faith connection, and I do too. Great job, once again, Tiber Judy.


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