By Rebecca Dussault
Ever traveled with your team or family for sport and had to miss mass on Sunday? Did you feel as though perhaps you’re priorities were twisted? This is an experience I had when traveling in Europe as a teenager with the U.S. Ski Team. I always longed to greet Our Lord at Mass and to receive Him in word and sacrament, but as I soon discovered, it was going to take a total effort on my part to make it happen when I was away from home.
I was always alone in this quest as I was the only Christian or Catholic on the ski team. Furthermore, there was always a lot of pressure to miss mass because at least one of the races would be held on Sunday morning. This frustrated me making me realize early on, that no day was sacred any longer not even Sunday. Praise the Lord that there are Saturday vigil masses in the Catholic Faith and churches the world over.
To not fall victim to missing mass, I researched where the nearest church was and plotted my plan for getting there. After morning training I would head to the grocery store and pick up some food to be consumed later. Luckily, in many small towns in Europe, the tallest building in the main part of town was the Catholic Church making it easy to find as I looked for a market. Then, I would ask my coaches permission to leave our accommodations later that evening. Come time for the team dinner on Saturday evening I would put on my long wool skirt and head out, missing the meal which of course was at the exact same time as the Mass.
This surely turned the heads of teammates. In this way, I went and got the REAL MEAL, the one by which I’d have eternal life. This was not something I expected my teammates to understand as they saw me miss dinner the night before an international race, but when I bested them in the race the next day after eating bread, oranges and cheese for dinner, then I hope they thought about my sacrifice for my faith and my priorities as a Catholic athlete. In the end it comes down to you and your commitment to the Lord and not what others think. Be emboldened by doing what the Church asks of us. Obedience bears the fruit of righteousness.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.