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Feeling lethargic or deflated? St. John Paul II has some advice for you


Derrick CEYRAC | AFP

Cerith Gardiner - published on 10/22/22

If you're down in the dumps, take inspiration from the late pontiff and turn to a little exercise for a healthy body and mind.

Life at the moment is challenging for many people. There is growing concern about world peace, lots of people are struggling with financial uncertainty, and to top it all off, the days are getting colder and wetter. It’s no wonder that a day on the couch with a good book or a series to watch seems so inviting.

However, the best thing you can do is fight the urge to vegetate and take inspiration from the avid sportsman St. John Paul II. And since today is the beloved late pontiff’s feast day, it’s the perfect time to commit to moving your body and getting some exercise.

If you’re not sure, check out some of his best quotes on sports to inspire you to pop on your sneakers, get that heart-rate pumping, and feel alive once more.

Sports contribute to the love of life, teaches sacrifice, respect and responsibility, leading to the full development of every human person.”

“Athletic competition develops some of the noblest qualities and talents in people. They must learn the secret of their own bodies, their strengths and weaknesses, their struggles and breaking points. They must develop the capacity to concentrate and the habit of self-discipline through long hours of exercise and fatigue as they learn to take account of their own strength. They must also learn how to preserve energy for the final moment when victory will depend upon a burst of speed or a last push of strength.”

Give thanks to God for the gift of sport, in which the human person exercises his body, intellect and will, recognising these abilities as so many gifts of his Creator.”

“The Church cannot but encourage everything that serves in harmoniously developing the human body. It is rightly considered the masterpiece of the whole of creation, not only because of its proportion, strength, and beauty, but also and especially because God has made it His dwelling place and the instrument of an immortal soul, breathing into it that “breath of life” by which man is made in His image and likeness.”

Sport trains body and spirit for perseverance, effort, courage, balance, sacrifice, honesty, friendship and collaboration.”

“Sport is an activity that involves more than the movement of the body; it demands the use of intelligence and the disciplining of the will. It reveals, in other words, the wonderful structure of the human person created by God as a spiritual being, a unity of body and spirit. If sport is reduced to the cult of the human body, forgetting the primacy of the spirit, or if it were to hinder your moral and intellectual development, or result in you serving less than noble aims, then it would lose its true significance and, in the long run, it would become even harmful to your healthy full growth as human persons.You are true athletes when you prepare yourselves not only by training your bodies but also by constantly engaging the spiritual dimensions of your person for a harmonious development of all your talents.”

And of course, the sports-loving pontiff was also quick to remind us that we can also exercise our spirituality:

Every Christian is called to become a strong athlete of Christ, that is, a faithful and courageous witness to his Gospel. But to succeed in this, he must persevere in prayer, be trained in virtue and follow the divine Master in everything.”

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