Many sports fans- and even some non sports fans have heard of the darling team of this year's NCAA Men's Championship- aka, March Madness, Florida Gulf Coast University. FGCU was a lowly 15 seed and they fought their way into the "Sweet Sixteen," one of only 16 teams let playing in the country. Makes this Jackrabbit fan jealous.
But there is an interesting spiritual lesson to be learned from FGCU. After their defeat, I caught some of the postgame press conference and FGCU's senior Sherwood Brown was giving a sport's cliché: "We believed in ourselves and we did it." Or something along those lines.
The real lesson is a little different. FGCU tested themselves- not against their own belief but against reality. In reality they played and won against Georgetown and San Diego State (the other SDSU). They tested themselves against reality and they REALLY won.
In our own spiritual life, the challenge isn't simply self confidence but to test ourselves against reality. As a Catholic Christian, we test ourselves against reality all the time: Scriptures, Sacraments, accountability from friends, and the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. These are the real things by which we can measure ourselves and know: are we going in the right direction or not?
In the world of basketball, Florida Gulf Coast University entered the test and found themselves to be true and good- in the world of basketball. They faced real opponents in a real test: Georgetown, San Diego State, and Florida. They know they are going in the right direction. In your faith life, can you say the same? Have you tested yourself against Scripture, Sacraments, accountability from friends and the Risen Lord Jesus Christ?
Lord, save us from the trial and test of temptation but do not save us from the test of your truth and goodness.
"For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw -- each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." 1 Cor 3:11-15