On this day in 1938 a historic race was won by a horse named Seabiscuit. Seabiscuit did not start out with a very promising future as a racing horse. He was undersized, “knobby-kneed” and lazy. Even when it was discovered that this poor creature had a hopeful future as a racing horse, he still wasn’t given much of a chance, and couldn’t be sold for a respectable amount of money. In 1938, on November 1 Seabiscuit earned the title and acclaim he had acquired in his defeat of “War Admiral” who was at the top of the “Horse Racing World”, till that point.
How appropriate that this all unfold on the Solemnity of All Saints. Today’s feast is a beacon of hope for all us underdogs out there. The Saints are made up of men and women who history never expected much from at the beginning, and history would end up gravely mistaken. The Apostles are a prime example. They were 12 uneducated, simple fishermen; who all but one gave their lives for the Church in martyrdom. Therese, our patroness, who died at 23 years old of Tuberculosis in her small convent of Carmel; no one knew, when they went to read her diaries that they would one day be published, and earn her the title of ‘Doctor of the Church”. There were Saints like Francis of Assisi and Augustine, who for the early part of their lives never thought twice about God, His Church, or even living good and respectable lives. Both men went on to found Religious Orders, and now are two of the most renowned names in Church History.
Look at the Saints we all know in our lives. The grandparents, parents, aunt, uncles, friends and neighbors who have gone home to the Lord and their eternal reward; how many of them were such underdogs as well? Perhaps immigrants from other countries who were forced to assimilate into a culture they knew nothing about in order to get work, and provide for their family. Perhaps they were single parents, who due to any number of reasons were left raising a child alone in an economy where even a 2 parent household is struggling. Perhaps they passed seemingly to the rest of the world without making a single wave…but we know that to be different, because they affected US.
What about the walking Saints among us? The underdogs who day in and day out go to work, try to pay their bills, and try to make it home to bed at the end of the day with as little incident as possible.
At AA they tell us that we are miracles. They say that every day that we look back on our past 24 hours of sobriety, it’s a miracle. Then when we look at how many of those 24 hour periods back to back we have collected for ourselves; we are a miracle. Miracles that are only possible through the grace of a loving God, to whom we have given over our will. It certainly is a miracle, but one that I certainly have had nothing to do with. Maybe the AA principle needs to apply to every aspect of our lives.
Give it all to God. Give God all the heartaches, headaches, bills, stress, arguments, successes and failures, and let Him work miracles. He seems to be in that line of work! Let God make something amazing out of the simplicity that is us. Like Seabiscuit conquering all the odds, like the Saints who went from paupers to heroes faith, like our Grandparents who made it in a new world, and like the drunk who everyday finds the willpower to not pick up a drink – God Works Miracles! We are still underdogs, because if we try to win these races alone, we surely will lose.
If we let God take over – the underdog becomes a formidable opponent.
The Jim Gillen Teen Center
The Jim Gillen Teen Center is an environment that celebrates, and helps facilitate recovery through dynamic programming, shared lived experience, and peer support.