Running with St. Vincent
“Let courage lighten your step & quicken your pace, in the way that leads to everlasting glory.”
St. Vincent Pallotti
23 September 2018 • Rome, Italy
Starting in St. Peter’s Square, and soon passing our General House, St. Vincent Pallotti hit the streets as an athlete of Rome Via Pacis; a half marathon to “unite all people of goodwill, and those who believe in the beauty of life, integration, and sharing.” The world’s first inner-religious race of this length, its noble cause has permitted for sponsorship by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture, as well as the Italian Athletic Federation.
This year, the Nelson Mandela Federation also participated, in honor of what would have been his 100th birthday. The runners, given a send-off by his grandson, were reminded of his words written on their medals when they crossed the finish line: “sports have the power to change the world.”
Indeed, they do. “Sports train the body and spirit for perseverance, effort, courage, balance, sacrifice, honesty, friendship, and collaboration” (John Paul II.) To the victors, they must be gracious; the losers, they must be humble. Sports build a strong soul, which does not waver in weakness.
But as is the case with holiness, all are called to be true athletes of Christ. Our sporting pontiff, John Paul, reminds us that “Christian life is like a rather demanding sport, combining all a person’s energies to direct them towards the perfection of character, towards a goal which realizes our humanity in the ‘measure of Christ’s gift.”
So may all of us- be it on a track, or in an office- “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).