by Fr Richard Heilman | March 16, 2016 1:02 AM
Among the ways we have just let Coach Vince Lombardi inspire us, let’s focus on the most important one: He went to Mass and received Communion every day of his life. Pope John Paul II said the Holy Eucharist “contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ Himself.”
Precisely during a time when our culture was becoming disconnected from their True Source, Vince Lombardi remained firmly and wholly connected to his. No matter what Lombardi dedicated himself to, he never abandoned his true self as a child of God and devoted disciple of Jesus Christ. More than anything, he understood the necessity of receiving God’s Divine Life, as he brought himself, daily, to the altar of our Lord to receive him — body, blood, soul, and divinity — as the real source of power in his life. This was where his energy, his very life came from. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, “As a man must be born before he can begin to lead his physical life, so he must be born to lead a Divine Life. That birth occurs in the Sacrament of Baptism. To survive, he must be nourished by Divine Life; that is done in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”
There is no other authentic way to strive for perfection. Lombardi recognized this as the superior ideal that must never be abandoned, but interwoven into all of our pursuits, whether it is as a businessman or parent or professor or coach.
Vince Lombardi lived profoundly by God at the exact time our culture was unraveling and when it was all too easy to abandon God (as it continues to be today). How easy it was (and is) for so many to follow the crowd through the wide gate (Mt 7:13) of the many fads and trends of immorality, self-gratification, and anti-authority in the 1960s and up to today. Lombardi is yet another reminder that the real heroes of every age are those brave souls who courageously accept the challenge of integrity by ignoring the trends of their times while remaining true to themselves, even if it means being a signum cui contradicetur, a sign of contradiction, in the world (Lk 2:34).
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