The National Catholic Review

Wow.  Tim Tebow, the famously religious quarterback who kneels in prayer before, during and after games, led the Denver Broncos to another apparently miraculous win yesterday.  And, as if the win itself weren’t dramatic enough, the football phenom passed for an astonishing 316 yards in ten throws.  That would be 31.6 yards a throw.  Does that number sound familiar?  It should.  It’s the verse from the Gospel of John (3:16) that Mr. Tebow had written on his “eye black,” the patch of paint under his eyes to cut glare.  For those without your Bible handy that would be: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

All this raises the inevitable question, and one that I’ve been asked numerous times over the last few months: Is God answering Tim Tebow’s prayers?

Well, in good Jesuitical fashion the answer is: Yes, no, and I don’t know. First, the yes.  Well, before the yes, let me say something else.  Mr. Tebow is obviously a prayerful man and a faithful Christian.  I admire him for his ebullient belief and his deep trust in God.  So nothing I say in this piece is meant to disparage him or his faith.  I genuinely like the guy, and I’m not even much of a Broncos fan.  (Go Eagles?)

Okay.  Back to the yes.  Yes, God is hearing Mr. Tebow’s prayers. God hears everyone’s prayers, no matter who you are, just as Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew, God causes to the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, and sends the sun to shine on the evil and the good.  That part is easy to answer.  And God is certainly helping Mr. Tebow in his life, as he helps anyone who asks for help.  God is supporting Mr. Tebow with grace, that hard-to-define inner gift that was defined by one theologian as God’s “self-communication.”

But does believing in God mean that you’ll get what you want?

Read the rest here.

Comments

JIM MCCREA | 1/10/2012 - 6:02pm
David:  at least you call Mary the mother of Jesus and not the mother of God.

I have long thought mariolotry to be ONE of the Achilles' heels of Catholicism
david power | 1/9/2012 - 6:26pm
Very nice JR but I think that Jim was not straying into football territory but sticking to  Religion as practised by those of a Marian bent.
May the Good Lord Jesus plunge his face into the Eternal fires of damnation and solitude only for him to seek recourse to she who remains the Queen of heaven and of earth.
The greatest  pure human being that ever lived and you knock HER Jim?? 
Surely a love for the mother of Jesus lurks in your heart somewhere.   
david power | 1/9/2012 - 5:40pm
Agreed, it is a pretty good article from Fr Martin.
I know that most Yanks/Americans are not too well-versed on football/soccer but many of the greatest football players are very religious people.The greatest player in the world today is Lionel Messi who never fails to give a very heartfelt thanks to God after every goal scored.
Maradona always saw providence in his ability. Messi was very sick as a kid as was Kaka another god of modern football.All of them are very open to the grace of God.They are all about a million neurons removed from Von Blathasar or Ratzinger but are all on the same page with them.
Tebow , is a sign of a soul which confronts reality  a certain way.It is neither angel or demon but waiting for discernment as Ignatius would have it.
God's "self- communication" is Rahner if I am not wrong and I saw it not only in Tebow but in George Michael quite recently.Close to death he plumbed the depths and found a something instead of a nothing.
It leads us to prayer.Giussani said that prayer ,the act of prayer ,the posture of prayer is the most rational of all acts and is ontological perfection.I quite simply have never read anything as brilliant as this.  
J Cosgrove | 1/9/2012 - 1:34pm
''Real religion is the idea that if you believe, all may not go well, but, in the end, there is nothing to worry about.''


Great article by Fr. Martin.   Along the same line, my daughter sent me an email just before Christmas that contained the following


''The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.''  


And Tim Tebow has been fantastic theatre as the 80 yard completion was probably one of the most dramatic sports plays in years.  They just spent five minutes explaining all the details of the new overtime rules and 11 seconds into the overtime, it was over.  Yes it was all a coincidence that it was Tebow.  Then again?
Amy Ho-Ohn | 1/9/2012 - 9:36pm
Yo, reality check, you guys: God thinks football is idiotic. 

This is obvious, first, from the fact that God endowed Man with understanding and free will and almost every human on the face of this planet thinks (American) football is idiotic. Five billion, eight hundred million people couldn't be wrong. Baseball, in contrast, is popular in most of Latin America and several Asian countries, so the explanation is not just anti-American bigotry. It must be that football really is tremendously inane.

Moreover, if God really enjoyed watching small mountains of muscle ram their heads together until their bones are crippled and their brains addled, why would He not have just created hyper-aggressive, brighty-colored oxen? He could even, since nothing is beyond His sovereign power, have created one with a black spot in the shape of the numbers "3:16" on its face, right under the eyes.
david power | 1/9/2012 - 6:01pm
Jim,

Cold shower. 
JIM MCCREA | 1/9/2012 - 5:45pm
''But does believing in God mean that you’ll get what you want?''

Oh, yes - God the Big Santa Claus in the Sky and the Good Tooth Fairy all rolled up into one big whoop-dee-doop.

But just to be on the very safe side, don't forget those regular Hail Mary passes.  You KNOW that the Big Man always listen to prayers addressed to His Momma.
Bill Collier | 1/9/2012 - 5:34pm
Though I very much doubt that God is an NFL fan (if He were, wouldn't the N.O. Saints be perpetual champions?), and because I'm a Giants fan I'm not rooting for Tebow and his Broncos, but I can't help taking some delight in Tebow's success if for nothing else than it must be driving Bill Maher absolutely nuts. :)