Lent a spiritual sport

by Very Rev. Wm. Fedak

Have you ever been asked to define Sport? It is usually defined as a recreational activity. This definition is not entirely correct. Sport is a game in which one endeavours to achieve a goal. If one tries to outrun his opponent in a race or tries to knock the most pins in bowling, there is but one thought at the back of his mind to score, to win, to achieve, to realize his goal.

To participate in sports and to excel in it, one must acquire the required power and dexterity. This power and dexterity is achieved by employing an alert mind and healthy muscles in a continuous and a strenuous exercise. One of my physical training teachers some thirty years ago, illustrated this by the following equation:

“Alert + Mind + Healthy Muscles + Continuous Exercise = Power + Dexterity”

One wishing to become a good athlete e.g.-a boxer, he must give in to his trainer. The trainer assumes the full responsibility of the physical developments of his trainee. The trainee cannot do as he pleases. He must abide by the curtailments set by his trainer. He must watch his diet, regular hours of sleep, no alcoholic beverages, no smoking, etc. By adhering to these curtailments and by rigid exercise (training), one becomes fit to participate in the realization of his goal.

Every Orthodox Christian should be a spiritual athlete. Before him stands the supreme goal which he is to strive to attain. This supreme goal is the Eternal Life with God, the Creator. To attain this supreme Real, a Christian must become an ardent participant in the spiritual exercises which will make him fit to strive for the attainment of the Supreme Goal.

Acting on the teaching and the examples of Jesus Christ and his Holy Apostles, our Mother Church has ordained a special season called “Lent” or “The Great Fast” to give us an opportunity to participate in the spiritual exercises to strengthen our spiritual side of life.

These spiritual exercises will sanctify our lives and make us fit to fight the evil that stands on the path leading to Our Eternal Father.