A Tale of Two Coaches

 

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We hope this short story inspires you to embrace your mission of being a Catholic Christian leader with ever more passion, hope and urgency.

Virtue = Strength 
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A Tale of Two Coaches

Once there were two coaches who had lived long lives. They had both coached for many years and as happens to us all, their time on earth had run it’s course.

As the first coach awoke to the next life, she saw a light far off in the distance. She walked toward the light and as she got closer she realized that she was walking into an enormous stadium.

Once the crowd saw her, they erupted into the most passionate applause. A standing ovation was an understatement.

Her heart raced and pounded like it had never done before.

As she looked around the stadium she saw many familiar faces and some completely new to her.

Then she saw our Lord at the center of the stadium field.

Her heart pounded even harder, her eyes filled with tears, she couldn’t run fast enough.

She had longed her whole life to see Jesus and now here He was.

She ran into His arms and He engulfed her in the embrace she had yearned for. Her heart was bursting.

After a long while, he looked at her in the eyes with a loving smile, put His arm over her shoulders and motioned her to look at the whole crowd in the stadium.

As she wiped the tears from her eyes and she looked around with her heart so full and yet growing at the same time, she looked at all the faces but she was so moved she couldn’t bring herself to speak.

Our Lord then told her, these are all the people I created you to impact in one way or another during your life.

Some you helped directly, some indirectly.

Some you coached. Some you prayed for. Some you offered up a sacrifice for. Some you fasted for. Some you encouraged and mentored. Some you patiently endured. Some you forgave.

Coach was beyond moved, tears filled her eyes to swelling … the lump in her throat … the gratitude in her heart.

She thought about all of her family members, friends, colleagues, players, parents of players … she was so glad she persevered when she felt like quitting or was tempted to ignore her faith.

She was so glad she had sacrificed, prayed and lived her faith.

She was so relieved she had shared her faith and love for Jesus, our Blessed Mother, the Saints, her Catholic faith.

Her joy, amazement, gratitude was indescribable. Truly eye had not seen, ear had not heard what God had in store for those who love Him.

It was all true, it was all worthwhile, it was all right here in front of her.

Then Jesus turned to her, put both His hands on her cheeks and with tears in His eyes said,

“You were not ashamed of me, you spoke of me, you served me, you loved me, you put me first in everything you did. Well done good and faithful servant. Come now and enjoy eternal life with me. Welcome to Heaven.”

 
***
 

A short time thereafter the other coach saw a light far off in the distance and walked into a stadium.

He saw the crowd, heard the thunderous applause and ran toward Jesus.

He was thrilled beyond comprehension.

Our Lord gave him the biggest, longest bear hug and Coach soaked our Lord with his tears of joy.

Jesus then put His arm around his shoulder and showed him the stadium crowd.

As he looked in amazement, suddenly he noticed that there were some empty seats scattered throughout the stadium.

There was even one section completely empty.

He asked our Lord about these empty seats.

Jesus’ face fell, His countenance drew sad, a hush came over the stadium.

Coach’s heart sank.

Jesus told him that the empty seats were there because there were times in his life that He had created him to impact people but that he said no in one way or another.

There was a time in your life when you forgot about me, you ignored me … you refused to pray.

Instead you spent your time selfishly. Because of that you could not help all of the people who were supposed to fill that empty section.

They were part of your mission on earth. You said no.

The other empty seats represent people you did not forgive, pray for, share the Gospel with.

There were a few seasons where you were too worried about what others would say or think if you talked about me … They needed to learn about me from you. You chose silence.

Coach’s heart was now breaking. The tears were now of regret and remorse.

The full realization that he had been given one life to accomplish a mission and that he had wasted so many opportunities was unbearable. He was so sorry.

How could he have been so foolish?

He knew now that this was Purgatory. No further explanation was needed. He knew he needed to repair, to make up for these losses.

He knew he had to before he could enjoy paradise with our Lord and all the Saints.

Coach addressed our Lord one more time before He walked away, “Lord, I’ve never felt so bad. If this is Purgatory what could Hell possibly be like?”

Jesus looked at him straight in the eyes and simply said, “You don’t want to know.”

 
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