Blocking and Tackling
“Some people try to find things in this game that don’t exist but football is only two things—blocking and tackling.” – Vince Lombardi
Most football fans know that a team’s success boils down to doing fundamental things well—in the case of football, that means blocking and tackling. A team going through adversity will focus on blocking and tackling as the route to recover confidence and success.
Something similar is needed currently in the life of the Church. We need to go back to “blocking and tackling” in our own sense. This occurred to me when I came across a piece of mail from a retreat house that offers the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Prominently displayed on the inside cover of their pamphlet were the words from the portion of the saint’s Spiritual Exercises known as The Principal and Foundation: “Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord, and by so doing save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help to the pursuit of this end. From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.”
Saint Ignatius’ advice is about the blocking and tackling of a Christian disciple, remembering the basic purpose for our existence as creatures, redeemed by God in Christ: worship of God and serving Him as the path of salvation. And more, realizing that everything in life can either foster that end or be a hindrance.
The saints throughout history have always had the ability to see life from the supernatural perspective that comes from faith. This is especially important in times of turmoil. As we each respond to the challenges of living as a Christian in the modern world, and as we struggle to find the right response to the current scandals facing the Church, let us focus on “blocking and tackling,” that way of living modeled by those whose lives were transformed by Christ.
+ Most Reverend James V. Johnston, Jr.
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Catholic Key, October 12, 2018 issue
Bishop Johnston’s October Prayer Intention
For married couples longing for children but who have encountered difficulties conceiving.
Pope Francis’ October Prayer Intention
That consecrated religious men and women may bestir themselves, and be present among the poor, the marginalized, and those who have no voice.