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Living A Colorful Spiritual Life

I was watching the British Open this past weekend, and remembered a comment that a member of my military unit once said about watching golf: “It’s like watching paint dry.”

Archbishop Listecki

Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee


I was watching the British Open this past weekend, and remembered a comment that a member of my military unit once said about watching golf: “It’s like watching paint dry.” This person was a fairly active individual, and he liked to play golf, but it was just watching golf that drove him nuts. That can be true for many sports; watching creates those lag times that must be filled. For example, in professional baseball, there is plenty of downtime during a game – which, of course, is to be expected. Who wants to watch cleats being cleaned, a bat being wiped with rosin, a batter taking warmup swings, or a pitcher playing catch with the catcher between innings? There is a good deal of downtime in every sport, no matter how energetic the sport is.

Another example is in the theater. When the drama is presented, the houselights are not focused on the stage crew who are changing the props for the next scene. In fact, most of any change is accomplished during intermission, so that the audience is not subjected to waiting.

When sports first made their way onto the television networks, they had to compensate for the inherent lag times, which occurred in every sport. Onto the scene comes the “color” commentator – the inference being that watching an active sport on TV is like a presentation in black and white, but color is provided through someone who offers commentary, which enhances the viewing.

The color commentator provides knowledge about the game, helps to create the environment or the drama about the moment, relates human-interest stories concerning the players, and gives the history of the sport and significant players. In fact, when a game or tournament gets out of hand (i.e., early runaway leader, or a team blows out the opposition), it’s the color commentator who keeps one’s interest.

Most of our lives are routine, ordinary. Our lives can be mundane. However, when we add the spiritual life, it is this “color” that makes it fully alive. The worldly moment is open to the transcendent. There are many color commentators in our ecclesial communities who enhance our spiritual lives. The Religious Education directors and catechists help us understand the significance of the Church’s teachings, applying the theological language as they analyze the human dimension. Spiritual Directors point out the moments of convergence with the holy, and the areas of challenge. Pastors, associates and deacons add a sense of interpretation to our day-to-day lives. The liturgical celebrations of the saints color our daily lives, and remind us of those whose lives achieved the ultimate goal: holiness. We incorporate the lessons of the saints whose lives were crowned with spiritual success.

In life, as we dust off our spikes and take our warmup swings, we can hear our spiritual color commentators urging us to swing for the fences and LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Note: This blog originally appeared as the July 24, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.

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