2 Feb

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ~ Phil Jackson

It has taken a lifetime to try to unlearn some of the things that I was taught as a child.  My parents were two of the millions who lived throughout the depression.  Because of that, they developed a certain standard about living.  My father, especially, taught his sons that we had to rely solely on ourselves. We had to do everything necessary by ourselves.  It was a weakness to ask anyone else for help.

That’s not the truth, though.  Yes, there are things that we need to accomplish.  There are things for which we are responsible.  However, we do not need to exclude others from our lives.  We can certainly ask others for help.  As much as we might value individual strength, we also need to value a collective strength.

We are not alone.  If we attempt to live alone, we will soon find just how dependent we are upon others.  Even the great saints who desired to be alone found that it wasn’t possible.  There were some who went into the desert and made hermitages for themselves solely for the purpose of removing themselves from society.

However, their very holiness soon attracted the attention of others and, before they knew it, they had followers.  Their intention of being alone was soon replaced with being the center of a community.  Their holiness was a bedrock for the communities formed around them.  The collective benefited from them and they found themselves benefiting from the community in which they lived.

Today, Super Bowl Sunday, is a reminder of the strength of individuals as well as the need for community.  Any player, in and of himself, cannot win a game.  It takes the unity of many to make that happen.  It is only in teamwork — each contributing the best of himself — that a win is possible.

The same holds for our own lives.  We might be incredibly holy.  We might be incredibly talented.  We might be incredibly insightful.  Those are all well and good.  However, God did not bless us with those attributes and graces so that we could go it on our own.  God blessed us so that we might rally the team of Christians among whom we live and move together toward the goal: eternal life in His Kingdom.

FAITH ACTION:  In all humility, identify your many gifts and then ask God to give you the grace to use them for the benefit of those around you.