Expanding the fundamentals of our faith
November 1, 2012
By Steve Trosley
Anyone who has played baseball or softball can tell you what it feels when he or she hits a ball squarely with the bat. It has its own feeling and sound. You instinctively know you did something right.
My grandson started playing T-Ball this past spring. I’m old enough to have played as a Little Leaguer. He seems to have been blessed with a natural swing. I was not.
So for me it was work on the fundamentals: shift your weight from back foot to front, don’t step in the bucket, head down on the ball — and keep your hands up! But the first time you hit that solid line drive over the shortstop’s head, you knew that you wanted to learn to do more.
Right handed-batters like me tend to hit the ball to left field, a result of biology and physics. But how wonderful if you can hit the ball to the “opposite field,” in my case right field.
That requires doing something different with your hands — keeping your hands back, they call it. You learn to adjust your timing, start the weight transfer through your hips at the same time and start your arms in motion, but keep your hands positioned so that the bat meets the ball at an angle that will send it between first and second base.
Want to hit it in the air to avoid the double play? That was something very important to me because I was so slow my dust beat me to first base. I learned to drop the bat as it crossed the plate — not uppercut —and hit the lower third of the ball.
After you learn the fundamentals and feel comfortable with a bat in hand, you naturally want to learn new skills and do more with those skills so that you strike out fewer times.
It strikes me (no pun intended) that this is where we are at the beginning of the Year of Faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. Most adult Catholics know the fundamentals or at least we think we do. I wish I had a dollar for each time I’ve heard the phrase “practicing Catholic” since I arrived here in January. I could make a healthy contribution to Catholic Charities.
We should have an open heart to our relationship with God, be endeavoring to incorporate the teachings of Jesus Christ in our daily lives and be actively seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to learn more, correct our errors and in addition to securing our own redemption, help others secure theirs.
Listening to Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr’s homily at the recent Summit, for example, I heard him demonstrating this process as he talked about the sacrament of matrimony. He said while we do some excellent marriage preparation for couples, we too often leave them to their own devices after the wedding.
He said it might be time to review the preparation program and look for some additional way to keep working with couples as they continue their lives together in the church. It reminded me of the catch phrase of the educators in the 1980s: life-long learning.
The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops and the several ministries of the archdiocese have been preparing scores of resources for the faithful, who, feeling comfortable with the fundamentals, want to grow in their faith during this special year and help others grow in it as well.
As the Year of Faith moves forward, The Catholic Telegraph will spotlight parishes and other entities that are taking an active role in this effort. We will also be sharing pathways to the resources available for those who wish to take advantage of this special time.
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Steve Trosley is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Telegraph. firstname.lastname@example.org