The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, expressed his best wishes this week for the Mexican soccer team and hoped the 2010 World Cup in South Africa would be an opportunity to rediscover sports as a gift from God to practice the values of life.
“Sports possess a spiritual dynamism that teach us how to fight, how to overcome and be joyful in a good sense,” the cardinal said. “The physical and spiritual potentialities of sports should also educate us in peace, as despite all of the differences that can exist, unity is possible when there is good will and when the search for the common good and the development of peoples exists,” he added.
The Mexican cardinal recalled that in his letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul “encourages Christians to be fully committed to their lives of Christian faith by alluding to the athletic competitions of antiquity.”
“By using healthy athletic competition as a metaphor, St. Paul emphasized the value of the spiritual life, comparing it with a race towards a goal that is not only earthly and passing, but eternal,” the cardinal said.
Only with effort can one achieve success, he continued, as “without sacrifice one cannot obtain great results or authentic satisfaction.”
“Even the greatest of champions, when faced with the fundamental questions of existence, is vulnerable and needs God’s light in order to overcome the difficult challenges that human beings are called to face in competition,” the cardinal noted.
While fame and physical fitness pass away with time, he added, “the fullness to which all human beings are called is eternal, and only Christ gives it to those who compete to be better, to achieve the crown of holiness.”