During this past Ash Wednesday mass, Deacon George Teodoro had a simple, yet effective message:
Remember when you were little during soccer…how the little kids just follow the ball like a flock of bees? Deacon George said he was about five years old during a soccer match and at some point, the ball popped out and landed at his feet. He was so excited that he had a free lane to the goal and he drilled it for a score. But his teammates weren’t so excited…and suddenly he realized that he had put the ball in his own net. In his excitement, he didn’t hear the coach yelling at him to, “Stop…turn around…go the other way!”
He used this story to remind us about all the little things we do that practice us to be less than we are called to be. So why not practice to be the best we can be? After each example of things we all struggle with, like being messy, or addictive, or eating too much, or procrastinating…he would exclaim the admonition, “Stop…turn around…go the other way!”
The rest of the day, I found myself repeating this simple, yet amazing “meaning of Lent” story to folks that I bumped into. I guess it was so profound that it is now my mantra for the rest of Lent. But it also served as a reminder to me of the wisdom and insight that my colleagues at Verbum Dei offer every day to the young men of this community. So, please share this story with those you meet to help them find their direction if they lose their way.