In the midst of the autumn season, while the leaves fade away and tell us that summer vacation is but a distant memory, we are constantly reminded of the various places of worship in our country known as football stadiums. Men and women of all types gather around these coliseums in anticipation of gridiron madness. If the people of your state are anything like the people of my state (Nebraska – GO BIG RED!), football is religiously attended.
In fact, it borders on mortal sin if you didn’t watch the Huskers and I’m pretty sure the general belief is that you receive extra graces in life if you tailgate and/or actually attend the game.
During this fall football frenzy, stop and ask yourself a quick question: Am I a wide receiver?
I’m not asking if you can run a wicked slant pattern down the middle or whether you have the sweetest touchdown dance this side of the Mississippi after catching a 45-yard flea flicker pass. I am wondering if you are a wide receiver of God’s love and the many graces He desires to bestow on your life?
Catechism of the Catholic Church and Creation
The very first chapter of the Catechism is entitled “Man’s Capacity for God.” That first chapter states:
“The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for.” (CCC 27)
In short, our hearts desire God.
This paragraph captures an absolutely beautiful thing about our humanity. This is a beauty that takes us back to our very roots – to our creation. In the Book of Genesis the story of creation is recounted to us. Sacred Scripture reveals to us our dignity as creatures of the Creator. But we are unlike the rest of created things. It’s in man and woman that God creates us in His image and in His likeness (cf. Gen. 2:26-27). We are set apart in a special way by God. This is also part of man’s special discovery when he realizes within himself the great joy in the creation of woman: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23).
This should be a very important reminder to us as sons and daughters of the Creator of the Universe. We were not created to function as God forces us to function, as mere robots. Instead, God has created us to receive His love and to return His love. He has called us to be in an ever-loving, ongoing relationship. We have been made with a capacity for God that we can, in our free will, either fill with God or attempt to fill with other objects that will never truly satisfy.
Some Simple Questions
Knowing what we know about our unique character as human beings created with a capacity for God – a desire to be in relationship with Him – we can begin asking ourselves a few questions:
- Do we so desire to want to receive anything God throws our way?
- Are we making an intentional effort to be part of His game plan?
- Are we running our routes according to His playbook or are we simply concerned with our own fame and glory in the field of life?
While these may be some difficult questions to face, I hope that you would face them with courage. Do not be afraid to enter into a relationship with our God who is Love (cf. 1 John 4:8). Know that the Lord will not let you down. Know that God desires to offer you mercy, even in all your sinfulness. Know that the everyday, ordinary-ness of the world can be overcome with the hope of Heaven and the glory of God.
All of these things are awaiting you in a relationship with God. In fact, as St. Paul reiterates, so much more is in store for us: “Eye has not seen, nor hear has heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared to those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
In asking these simple questions and asking the Spirit of God to make you a wide receiver of God’s love and graces, the promise of God is with you – the promise that we are children of God and heirs to the Kingdom through Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 8:14-17). And, as any good Father desires, God the Father desires to be in relationship with you – He wants you to receive His love and return His love and to do likewise with your neighbor (cf. Matthew 22:36-40).
A New Fall-time of our Faith
As Autumn quickly settles in and the fervor of football sticks around with us for a little while longer, take some time to start being a wide receiver of God’s love and the many graces He has to bestow upon you. Ask the questions mentioned above and find out if you are participating in God’s game plan. Ask yourself if you are living out your capacity for God.
In all of this, learn to receive the Word of God on a daily basis through a prayerful reading of the Scripture. Spend time being coached in the faith. Take the time to be with and learn from your teammates (i.e., your brothers and sister in Christ) – be a team-player, always lifting one another up for the glory of God.
Don’t wait until the Spring to enter into a new springtime of the faith in your life – take advantage of the present moment. Desire Christ now. Ask for Him to give you an open heart and open mind, to be led by the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of God the Father.
If you start filling up the capacity in your heart for God with God, then you, like St. Augustine, will cry out: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”