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Is Super Bowl LI a Super Sacramental Marriage Secret?

Another “sports are a metaphor for life” analogy, and a pretty good one at that…

02/06/2017 | Comments


Wow. What a game! Super Bowl LI lived up to its name: both occurring in a bowl and being super. I didn’t particularly care who won, with the Broncos not even making the playoffs. But growing up here in the 70s, I have an affinity for the Broncos and thus would mildly cheer for anyone playing the Patriots. But then the Patriots were down by 25 points. Ouch. My Broncos have nearly been there. I began to hope Brady and company could pull the comeback of comebacks. What an amazing sight that they did! Tying the game with seconds to go, overtime felt like a foregone conclusion — unless the Falcons had grit and fortitude they hadn’t shown since going up 25 points. I still can’t believe I rooted for the Patriots, however mildly.

Now, to see if I can pull off this segue to how sacramental marriage and Super Bowl LI are similar (don’t worry, I’m well aware all analogies fall apart, usually sooner than later). Every one of us who is sacramentally married (and, if you aren’t married in the Church, you need to be! God works wonders through the Sacraments!) experience the same challenges Atlanta and New England did, albeit with far higher stakes on the line — our very souls. Super Bowl LI was like Sacramental marriage …

-       For all the apparent glamour and seeming ease seen from the outside looking in, a marriage that thrives puts in a lot of struggle to learn to get it right. Husbands and wives who thrive practice daily in prayer: Mass, Reconciliation, rosary, meals prepared and shared, diapers changed, dishes and clothes washed, jobs worked, money earned — all so hearth can be provided, created, welcome, nurture, and protect new life, and be disciplined in living our faith.

-       Life sometimes puts us up 25 points. When it does, do we cherish those moments, know they are transitory, and fight to keep them anyway or do we become lackadaisical and squander God’s abundance by being tepid?

-       Life sometimes puts us down 25 points. When it does, do we take it as an invitation to dig deep, figure out what we need to do better, not allow strife and suffering to define us, and find a way to choose Christ rather than dwelling in our own pain and hardship?

-       Family is a team, created by God to reveal His kingdom through the love and life creation of husband and wife.

-       Every team needs a leader. The best leaders lead by example and through sacrificing themselves while rallying the rest of their family to help everyone discover and breathe the gifts God gave them into the world so they thrive together no matter the circumstances.

-       Leaders are named, but leadership must be learned and earned. True leadership requires exercising God’s authority, and that requires humble obedience to God. God named husbands as head of house and calls husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. This requires bold, humble sacrificial love from every husband — which can only be cultivated through practice (prayer, see first similarity above).

Discover more about answering our Catholic call to holiness through family living.

May God startle you with joy!

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