November 16, 2011 - It's not uncommon to see a football player celebrating a touchdown by looking up and pointing to the sky.
Did you ever wonder what he might be looking at? Was he pointing to the replay of his spectacular catch? Did he spot a very exotic bird right after he crossed the goal line and want everyone else to see it too?
I bet if you were to put on some cleats and go down on the field at that very moment you'd probably only see what he sees: a clear blue sky.
Then again, those of us who try our best to think about spiritual things prefer to give those celebrations a spiritual interpretation.
In those moments I like to think he's pointing beyond the sky and thanking God. A football player, or anybody for that matter, who can see beyond what his eyes tell him is a person who has faith.
Another example might help. Back when a phone call was only a dime, two mischievous young men were in Grand Central Station.
They saw a boy they knew who was notorious for trying to make easy money. One of his favorite things to do was to fish for coins in the pay phones that lined one of the walls of the station.
As the young men were watching, the boy came to one phone, found it empty and tried the next one. Whenever he found a dime, he would keep it.
Then something odd happened. He reached into one of the coin slots, pulled something out, looked at it with disgust and threw it on the ground.
The two observers were baffled about what had caused him such aggravation. A few minutes later they walked over, and picked up the object of scorn: a penny.
The next day, the two young pranksters decided to do an experiment. Hoping to see the boy again, they planted a penny in ten consecutive pay phones.
Sure enough, the boy came around. He poked his fingers into the first slot, grabbed a penny, decided it wasn't what he was looking for and jettisoned it to the ground.
He came to the second phone and did the same thing…10 times in a row.
The pranksters couldn't believe it. The boy had failed to discover the very thing he was looking for. He couldn't see beyond the single penny to see the larger gift he was being offered.
The truth is that God is continually offering us his blessings. They may seem small but over time we should learn to appreciate them.
Faith helps us to do that. It is a virtue that gives our life an added dimension. By faith we're able to appreciate the simplest things in life more deeply.
His blessings might not come in the packages we expect, but they are present for anyone who has the eyes of faith to recognize them.
Fr. Daniel Pajerski, LC, is Formation Director for Everest Collegiate High School and Academy