Have you ever tried to explain something that you know very well, something that is second nature to you, only to find yourself at a loss for words? It seems that when something is so close to you, you take for granted how things work or what they mean. Recently, I had the occasion to share the game of baseball with a priest from Ireland. Father Tom, my schoolmate at Catholic Theological Union, had never been to a baseball game before and was looking forward to that All-American experience.
I had the perfect opportunity to share baseball with Fr. Tom when my beloved Twins came to town to face the White Sox. But, it turns out explaining the intricacies of baseball is hard. Even though I know baseball like the back of my hand (my glove hand), I struggled with finding words that would make sense to a baseball novice. The challenges I found in explaining the ins and outs (pun intended) of baseball got me thinking about how hard it is to talk about God.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not equating baseball to my belief in God and my relationship with him. What I am saying is that it is tough to put into clear words of explanation something that is so close to my being. I live and breathe sports. Yet, I struggled to find words to do justice to the game. Likewise, there are times I feel tongue-tied in expressing my love for God and explaining my belief in God.
Jesus anticipated my twisted tongue and my jumbled thoughts when he promised to send the Holy Spirit. He knew that the love of God and the experience of being in relationship with him would be beyond our words and our understanding, so he sent the Advocate. Jesus said, “When he comes, the Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth” (John 16:13). Jesus promises that when we need to speak and testify to the truths of our faith we “do not need to worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time, you will be given what to say” (Matthew 10:19).
So, there you have it! The next time you need to speak about your belief in God and express your love for God, call on the Holy Spirit. The Advocate will free your tongue and give you the words.
I wonder. Would that work for explaining baseball to an Irish priest?