Pax et Bonum+Peace and All Good
The Phillies are gearing up for what I hope will be another exciting year of baseball! Last year we won the NLC East and nearly won the World Series! They came close and played very well.
During the weeks leading up to the World Series I couldn’t help but fondly remember the last time we won the World Series way back in 2008. I was in the spring semester of my first year at St. Charles Seminary surrounded by classmates and friends to watch the final game on projector screen in the auditorium.
At the exact moment Brad Lidge threw that last out that won the game, the whole Philadelphia area erupted in one exuberant shout! The auditorium at the seminary was no exception. We were so happy and excited — we just wanted to celebrate. But being College Division seminarians, we weren’t permitted to leave campus.
I was bummed as many of us were. We watched from the front steps of the College Division as seminarians from the Theology Division drove off campus in a mass exodus to wherever they were going to celebrate. A group of us looked at each and we suddenly had the same unspoken understanding. Even though we couldn’t go off campus we were still going to celebrate! So, we made our own fun.
It might sound lame to some but I have such fond memories of staying on campus with my brothers and celebrating the Phillies’ victory. I’m glad we couldn’t leave campus that night.
The way I look at it, we have two choices when a situation is out of our control. We can either let the situation dictate our behavior or we can let our behavior dictate the situation. We can be victims of our circumstances or we can be victors in our circumstances.
Before they entered the Promised Land, Moses told the Israelites they had a choice: death or life. He explained that they were entering a new land, with unknown challenges ahead of them, and they could choose to do it alone apart from God and be destroyed or they could remain faithful to God, trust him, and he would make them victorious! In other words, apart from God, they would be victims of the their circumstances or with God they would be victors in their circumstances. This is fulfilled in the person of Our Lord Jesus. He chooses to be the victim and victor so that we may have eternal life.
Christ was never unwilling a victim of his circumstances. His Passion and Death could not happen without His divine will permitting it. He became the Victor by choosing to become the Victim for our sake.
As His disciples we often face situations that are beyond our control. Sometimes those situations are serious and other times they are not. Either way, we have a choice, even when it seems that we don’t.
The right choice is always to follow God, trust in Him, and let Him guide us to victory in our circumstances. Or we can surrender to fear and become victims of our circumstances.
When the Phillies won in 2008 and we couldn’t go off campus we had a choice — sulk and be miserable or make our own fun and make great memories together. Now, that’s not exactly a life or death choice but it is a helpful reminder to me that I always have a choice in difficult situations.
Victim or Victor? Life of Death? “Choose Life” (Dt. 30:19) as Moses says! The choice is yours!
Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.
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