The Olympics are well in the past now, but we are soon to see the beginning of the Paralympics and in some ways the efforts of the athletes there is in some ways even more inspiring. Their dedication and their perseverance in the face of difficulties is even greater. They remind us of the need of commitment and dedication in every walk of life.
In Marriage there is a need of commitment: no one goes into a marriage lightly, saying if it doesn’t work out I can walk away. Anyone who does that is going to walk away at some point because they are not committed to it. We recognise that there is no real love in their heart, only a desire for what they can get out of it.
It’s the same with anything we do in life. As children we are enthusiastic about many things and often parents spend large sums of money on something a child insists they are passionate about, only to find that within a month or more the interest of the child has moved onto something else. As adults we know that when we approach things half-heartedly, it is a recipe for unhappiness and failure. But then we can see the example of people such as Mother Theresa who is being canonised today; a little woman who achieved so much because her love of God was complete. Her commitment was total. But we are not all Mother Theresa.
For us the difficult thing can be that our lives are littered with failures as well. It isn’t everyone who can succeed. In the Olympics or Paralympics only one person gets the gold. We are not all saints.
What’s more our relationships don’t always work out the way we wanted and our life doesn’t always work out the way we imagined.
So in the face of our failures, do we give up? Do we stop going to Church, do we stop praying? Do we stop believing? do we stop practicing our faith because we sin and fall and fail? Do we stop because others sin and fall and fail?
G.K. Chesterton said, ‘If a thing is worthwhile doing it’s worthwhile doing badly’. Faith and life may be difficult and even if we aren’t perfect in it, even if we sin, even if we aren’t the holiest or the best, even if we do it badly, it is still worth while doing. Sometimes what we have to give up is the pride of our success and allow the mercy of God to carry us in our failures.