swifter higher stronger and more caring

Calisthenics, agility drills and wind sprints began our afternoon football practices way back during my high school days.

Calisthenics, agility drills and wind sprints began our afternoon football practices way back during my high school days.

After this came the work on the blocking sleds or dummies for those of us on the line. Ends and backs ran passing patterns.

Once together we endlessly, it seemed, practised our plays. Hours, days, weeks of work brought us to game days.

Hardened on the practice field we pitted ourselves against equally toughened adversaries.

Our games marked those few minutes where our training, acquired or natural skills and determination played out. We had a goal. It was plain and simple. Put everything we had out onto that field.

Athletes from across our country will be doing precisely this in their varied disciplines here over the next two weeks.

Their years of practice and dedication will be laid before all to see. Many others who have supported, encouraged and coach them will take pride as well in their efforts.

For most participation at these Canada Winter Games will represent the high point in their athletic careers. Others will go on to Commonwealth, world and maybe even Olympic competitions.

Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympics, borrowed the motto for his modern era Olympic Games from a Dominican priest, Father Henri Dideon, headmaster of a college in Paris.

Three Latin words; Citius, Altius, Fortius’ or Swifter, Higher and Stronger’ described for de Coubertin the goals of all athletes across the world and time.

We will certainly see the winter game’s athletes reaching for these.

These next two weeks are also the beginning of Lent. The word Lent comes from an old Anglo Saxon word for spring. It covers a period of six and a half weeks in the Christian world each year running from Ash Wednesday earlier this week to Easter Sunday.

Traditionally it is a 40-day period, Sundays excluded, marked by fasting, prayer, alms-giving and works of mercy.

Why have people follow this penitential practice since the 4th century? Arguably these spiritual exercises prepare their practitioners to achieve their goals as well; living their faith more fully.

It isn’t easy turning from evil and self. Trying to deepen love of our neighbour through service and sharing as well, requires real effort.

These exemplify a similar type of dedication to what we see in the athletes competing here. Maybe, however, we could add another Latin phrase to the Olympic motto to more fully capture this spiritual discipline; amplius cura’ or more caring’?

With all the urgent challenges confronting our global community today we all certainly have to strive to be swifter, higher, stronger and more caring’ in our responses to them.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral parish community will host the 2007 World Day of Prayer on Friday, March 2nd at 7 p.m. at 4th and Steele.

This year’s service was written by an ecumenical committee of women in the central South American republic of Paraguay and is titled United under God’s Tent. Sister Edith Elder will be the guest speaker. All are welcome.