Spiritual Team-Work! In Unity is Strength!




There is a saying, “The chain is as strong as its weakest link.” And another: “In unity is strength.”  Soldiers in the army attack the weakest point so as to bring down the rest of the army. One of the key tactics of the devil is to divide using any way he can to destroy. Whereas the nature of our Triune God  is both unity and love.  The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father and the Holy Spirit is the bond of love between Father and Son.

In all areas of life learning to work together in harmony and unity is indispensable for success.  This concept can be applied in all areas of human interaction.  Having unity in purpose and goal is necessary for success!   This can be applied in a wide diversity of groups: A parish community, a specific group within the Parish, A Religious Community of nuns or priests or brothers, a choir with its members, a baseball team, a Company or Corporation with its CEO and President and staff, and finally the FAMILY, and all of its individual members.  All of these groups, if they are to prove successful in their plans and initiatives must have unity of goal and purpose and at the same time be able to work together as a team as a  harmonious and well-ordered body.

THE DEVIL.   One of the primary strategies of the devil is to divide, separate and destroy! How?   The devil, very astute, wily, crafty, cunning as he always has been, knows how to sow the seed of discord. God allows the devil to present thoughts and images in our imagination that are contrary to the will of Almighty God.

ENVY & JEALOUSY , SUSPICION AND RIVARLY.  What are among the most common arms the devil utilizes?  Looking in retrospect throughout the ages the ugly traces of the enemy can be detected by the end results of destruction! The devil tempts one member to focus on another member in the group—it can be any of the groups mentioned above and others--- and to make comparisons.  Jealousy often leading to envy is the ugly fruit of comparing oneself to others! Once given consent to envy, then the devil has won his battle!
The envious person can do the most heinous things. Let us mention a few of the most noteworthy: negative talk, backbiting, gossip leading to slander and then calumny, the “cold shoulder”, bitterness, hatred and even murder.  Character assassination often results, and at times even physical violence as we see in Cain killing Abel due to envy!


SPORTS EXAMPLE: BASEBALL!   Imagine a baseball team tied with their opponents in the 9th inning; it is 5 to 5!  Mike is up to plate and the pitcher launches a fastball travelling at 95 mph! 

Mike eyes the ball and with all the energy in his being swings, connects and the ball like a rocket sails into the bleacher seats!  Who won the game? Was it only Mike’s bat or Mike’s team? True, Mike hit the homerun, but it was the whole team in which Mike was a member that won the game!   In sports jargon this is called “Team-work”. 


BASKETBALL OBSERVATION.   Worthy of note was the Basketball great Michael Jordan, who played many years on the Chicago Bulls. 
When Jordan was shooting 50 or 60 points, and the team even winning, this was not when the team was playing best. Rather, when Jordan passed, assisted points and encouraged others players to shoot and score, it was then that the team was really plating best!


FAMILY EXAMPLE.   The family is the primary building block of society. Blessed Pope John Paul II calls the family the “Domestic church” as well as the basic cell of the society and as the family goes so does the society and the world at large. Families must strive for the same sense of “Teamwork”.   In imitation of the Blessed Trinity the family must aim for unity among the members and love as the binding force.  The family must have a unified goal and purpose which of course is the love of God in this life so that this temporary family will be united forever in heaven with the eternal family!

SECRET OF FAMILY SUCCESS AS THE “DREAM-TEAM!”   When I officiate at marriages in my homily I ask the bride and bridegroom this simple but all-important question: what is the best thing that he can do for her and she for him in their marriage? Taken by surprise by my question they look at me in a daze?  Then I give the response!   The best thing that John can do for Mary is to fall in love with Jesus every day; then, the best thing that Mary can do for John is to fall in love with Jesus every day! If both have a constant “love-affair: with the greatest of lovers, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then they will be able to give, and share in the most abundant way their love for each other as well as the children that God will so generously give to them! In other words, the family will be transformed into a most successful team only inasmuch as JESUS is the MANAGER of the team--- not secondary coach or helper, but Jesus must be the “Manager”. He must organize, form, educate, form, encourage and even at times correct the members of the team!

SUGGESTION FROM A SAINT! Saint John Berchmans died young as a Jesuit seminarian on the way to the priesthood. An incident in his life can prove priceless to arrive at harmony, unity and love in building families as good teams. John lived in a community with other Jesuits, some brothers, seminarians and some priests. Inspired by the Holy Spirit John decided to write a list of all of the members in the community. After each name John wrote a specific virtue (laudable quality of that member) then in prayer he thanked God for that member and his virtuous quality. For example, Fr. John a great preacher, thanks be to God; Fr. Andrew, a superb catechist, thanks be to God; Brother Pete, the best of cooks, thanks be to God; Fr. Matthew, the best sense of humor, thanks be to God. An interesting conclusive note: there was only one member in that community that was not on the list?  Guess who? It was the only member in that community who was canonized a saint, SAINT JOHN BERCHMANS, S.J.

Friends and brothers and sisters in Jesus, our Elder Brother and example, let us strive with all the energy in our will to form good teams, especially in our families, modeled on the Holy Family and the Blessed Trinity. With St. Paul let us live out this Biblical passage in building up, not tearing down:  “To rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep!”   Brought together with unity of goal and purpose and united in the love of the Holy Spirit let us lower the nets to make a great catch all united in the love of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Immaculate Heart of  Mary,
Give us Your Heart of Unity and Love