by Vince Anch
My pastor shared his thoughts during a homily about a recent professional football game that was marked by a serious injury of a player, Damar Hamlin.
Hamlin’s heart stopped beating after a tackle he made. CPR had to be administered to him on the field for his heart to start beating again. Players from both teams knelt and prayed together for this young athlete.
Television viewers around the country began to pray for Hamlin as he laid lifeless on the field. He was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital for life-saving treatment.
I watched this game and, like others, prayed for Hamlin. I stayed up late that night hoping to hear good news but nothing was reported for a few days.
Our almighty Father heard all these prayers. Hamlin is alive and is gratefully thanking everyone for their prayers.
The NFL’s initial message stated “our thoughts are with Damar and the Buffalo Bills.” They left out “prayer” in their message, much like many secular organizations do in crisis situations.
However, after 32 NFL teams, including hundreds of players, held prayer sessions and asked others to pray, the NFL changed their statement to “our thoughts and prayers are with Damar.”
It was inspiring for me to see so many NFL players and coaches pray and send messages about God’s love and healing power.
These acts of faith, along with the prayers of millions of people, changed the mindset of a multibillion dollar organization. Prayer also brought millions of people together in a spiritual bond that might have lifelong benefits for many souls. The Lord used this crisis to bring us together and closer to him.
Although many people have become reluctant about expressing their faith, students at our Catholic schools pray every day and do so confidently and enthusiastically. We are teaching our youth about the power of prayer and to shine their light on top of a hill for all to see.
Perhaps a crisis from a football game will be an inspiration for Catholics to be more confident in sharing their faith like our children do. A simple gesture like making the sign of the cross while at a restaurant is a great way to express one’s faith. The power of prayer has no limits. God is ready and willing to answer our prayers. All we have to do is ask.
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