A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Training to Win

Posted on: September 30, 2013

This past week, I’ve watched my husband train for and pass his test to receive his third degree black belt in taekwon-do.

Actually, he has been preparing for this test for about six years, from the time he began training in taekwon-do as a white belt student. Learning the techniques and patterns. Becoming stronger, fitter and more flexible. Going to classes and training hard.

taekwon-do warm-up

My husband during the warm-up before his test

So a lot of sweat and occasionally blood (owing to sparring incidents) was involved, but no tears. Well, maybe mine, because I’m proud of what my husband has accomplished through all his hard work, not to mention the good example he has set for our son (and for me, as a new student) and the ways he has helped fellow students train and supported them when they were testing.

This week alone, my husband aggravated an old sports injury to one knee, and he may have broken some bones in his hand while breaking boards. But although he’s relieved the test is over, he says it was all worth it.

All this reminded me of the apostle Paul’s comparison of the way athletes train to win prizes with the way Christians should strive to keep the faith:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:24-25*)

(F)orgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13b-14)

Just as athletes focus their physical and mental efforts to win races, so we should keep our eyes on the “prize” that is eternal life with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is not enough to say we are Christians; every day, we need to build up and live out our faith. We need to pray, read the Scriptures, be active members of a faith community, and strive to show others the love and forgiveness God has shown us.

We should be inspired by and want to echo Paul’s words to Timothy:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

(*Scripture quotes are taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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