An Orthodox Christian, Meseret Defar, entrusted her 5km race to God with the sign of the cross and reached the finish line in 15:04:24, beating her fellow Ethiopian rival Tirunesh Dibaba, who was the favorite to win. Teary-eyed, she proudly showed the picture of the Virgin Mary with the Baby Jesus that she carried with her for the entire race. After the finish, she took it out, knelt down and prayed, then kissed it and showed it to the cameras several times. She was one of a number of athletes who openly shared their belief in Christ. These athletes left the BBC commentators at a loss for words when praying or blessing themselves, and the UK blogosphere has rightfully commented on this. (Read here for a good example.)
Today on the feast of The Assumption, our Parish Priest linked the homily with the obvious love of and dedication to Our Lady that Meseret Defar has. Her joy at winning the gold, was accentuated beautifully by her display of gratitude to Our Lady.
He encouraged us to contemplate our Christian Journey and consider it similar to that of a life of an athlete having many facets such as: sacrifice, dedication, failure, emotion, fighting a battle of will, vision, an ultimate goal and determination. Our ultimate goal being to reaching Heaven one day. He referred to Our Lady’s Journey of Faith as a model we can look up to for inspiration and enlightenment. One which contained all of the above elements, not withstanding pain and suffering.