Winning with Grace

Photo from Yahoo! Malaysia

Like many Americans, our family enjoyed cheering our Team USA at the Olympics. Particularly attractive was seeing the athletes who won with grace. There’s Gabby Douglas, winner in the individual and team all-around gymnastic competitions; and Allyson Felix who persevered through a silver in both the Athens and Bejing Olympics to finally win the gold in the 200-meter race. We were also delighted to hear the broken English of the humble Pandelela Rinong from Malaysia who was thrilled to win the bronze in the diving competition. It was the first Olympic medal for a sport other than badminton for that small country.

The spiritual irony is that being at the top of any field, particularly a sport, can be a curse rather than a blessing if one loses perspective about the source of his or her talents. Our culture idolizes athletes. Without spiritual grounding the athletes idolize themselves. As reporters interviewed winning athletes, our family discussed which athletes modeled more humility.

Even the non-Olympians of the world, a group that includes you and me, can fall into the illusion that we are the architects of our achievements rather than the true creator. To win with grace we, too, must inventory our gifts and give God proper ownership of them.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: What are your top two talents and has your perception of them been a spiritual asset or a liability?