“If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great.” - Pope Benedict XVI
I have always been into athletics. From my earliest years I have enjoyed playing and watching sports. I never had to be pushed in this area; it just came naturally. I achieved a decent amount of success through athletics, and it gave me confidence. There did come a point when I realized sports had become an idol, and discovered it wasn't the most important thing in life. I stepped back and discovered the truth about God, faith, and happiness. However, my interest in sports never disappeared. It took time but eventually my understanding of it transformed. I realized it wasn’t simply about individual accolades, but about working with others to grow in virtue, friendship, and health.
What I experienced with sports, others may experience with music, art, education, technology, business, etc. Nearly all human beings have personal passions. They are interested in certain things naturally and find enjoyment through these things. Depending on temperament and decision making, people might become somewhat obsessed or simply engaged in a moderate way. These areas of interest may become a lifelong career or a casual hobby. No matter what our degree of involvement is with these passions, they are part of being human.
They are also part of a life of faith. Like my experience with sports, human things can be transformed for the sake of spiritual growth. In fact, that is often how God carries out His divine work. He elevates natural things with supernatural grace. All of the sacraments of the Church display this truth, especially the Eucharist. Also, we see this in how Jesus evangelized others. He met people in the ordinary circumstances of their life (work, home, events) and revealed the Gospel to them. Tradition indicates Christ, Himself, lived an ordinary human existence for around thirty years before beginning public ministry.
“Christ saves us not from our humanity but through our humanity,” said Benedict XVI. This means God wants us to grow humanly as we grow spiritually. He didn’t create us to be pure spirits without bodies and apart from the world. He redeemed us so our humanity could be perfected and we could transform the world. This is our mission and path to sanctity. Therefore, we must devote time, energy, and resources to developing good human habits as we do with our spiritual lives.
If you like music, good. Play music. If you enjoy the outdoors, great. Hunt, camp, hike, etc. Do what you love, and do it for the glory of the God who wants you fully alive. However, remember we are fallen and sometimes let things get out of whack. We can let good things become gods, and sometimes do bad things while calling them good. We always need discipline and accountability to stay balanced. Striving for excellence in our basic duties and responsibilities is essential alongside our passion projects. We need to sleep, go to work, and take care of our loved ones. With the Gospel and the Church as our guide, we will keep what is wholesome and reject what is destructive. Christ will transform us, save us, and make us like Him, fully human and divine.