US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Real life All Stars

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Whenever I hear an athlete make reference to Jesus Christ, I'm always skeptical.

Are they praising God for their on-field achievements or for the wealth they've gained by hitting a ball really far? "Look how God has blessed me" seems to point to the prosperity gospel.

Then you hear those stories that make you think again. At last night's Home Run Derby, Josh Hamilton said the highlight of last year's derby (he lost but set a record by hitting 28 dingers in the first round) was sharing Jesus Christ with everyone. It's not the homers, but his story of returning to sobriety that is his true testament.

Four-time All-Star and Boston Red Sox Mike Lowell talked with CatholicTV last week (see the interview at about 12:15 on the show title "Deep Drive Out 2 Africa") about relying on faith in the face of cancer. "I was 24 years old and I thought baseball was my life," he says. His diagnosis changed that: "Being a baseball player is what I do. I don't necessarily define that as who I am."

Lowell seems thoughtful and down-to-earth. In addition to helping him through his own illness, faith inspired him to give back, starting a foundation to support low income families suffering with cancer. (Perhaps the bishops should recruit him to work for health care reform after he retires!)

To read more about sports and athletes, the Christian sports online blog links to the latest news and features, and Catholic Athletes for Christ will keep you up to date with its members. 

Go National League!