Question: Why do the Gospels omit so much of Jesus' life? It would have been…
Pirates pitcher prays ‘Jesus, I trust in you’ before playing ball
It’s that time of the year again! And no, I don’t mean Lent. And I don’t mean March Madness (though — Go Tar Heels!). And I don’t mean spring.
I mean time for the return of our country’s fine national pastime. The return of baseball.
The imminence of Opening Day always puts a little extra pep in my step, and this year it’s no different, despite that Bryce Harper signed with the Philadelphia Phillies … but this is neither the time nor the place for that conversation. (Send me an email if you really want this Washington Nationals fan to go down that dark road.)
Baseball means warm weather, it means summer nights at the ballpark, it means re-entering a rhythm of life marked by the ever-satisfying sounds of bat connecting with ball and ball slapping into glove. It means teaching my children to love these rhythms, too, the same way my parents taught me.
And I absolutely love it when the worlds of baseball and Catholicism collide. This happened recently when I was perusing Facebook and came across a video on the Knights of Columbus page featuring Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher (and Knight) Trevor Williams. The video, which is a promotional tool for the Knights inviting Catholic men to join their ranks, shares a bit about the impact of Williams’ faith on his own life and on his profession.
In the short two-minute clip, Williams explains his love of the Faith, how it solidifies him as a baseball player, and how his approach to his work helps to contribute to the building up of the kingdom of God.
“I know baseball is not the most important thing in the world,” he said, adding that even after a bad day, “I know the sun comes up in the morning.”
“My faith to me is more than just going to Mass on Sundays,” he adds. “The prayer that I pray every time before I go pitch … I say ‘Jesus, I trust in you.'”
He considers his heavily tattooed arms as methods for evangelization. The raven is a nod toward St. Benedict of Nursia, and he reminds himself with the “AMDG” tattoo on his wrist, especially when he is pitching, to “do everything for the greater glory of God.”
Williams speaks about the importance that Catholic role- model athletes have played in his own life, and he is “hoping to carry the torch forward.”
“As a Catholic man, I want to be visible and present” — and obviously he has chosen to do this in part through the Knights of Columbus.
I always find myself inspired by these kinds of stories and by this kind of witness. It is gratifying to be reminded that there are people living and working publicly in the world — outside of the Church — who are not afraid to share their faith. They aren’t perfect, of course, but they are real.
As we transition into regular season baseball, I’ll be praying for Williams — that he remains strong in his faith and continues to be a positive witness for others.
Gretchen R. Crowe is editor-in-chief of Our Sunday Visitor. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.