Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Praying Pacquiao
Dionesia Pacquiao once admitted in an interview that she dreamed of her son Manny becoming a priest. Aside from his talent and skills, inside and outside of the boxing ring, the Pacman is being admired by the whole world they say because of his religiosity and deep faith. Whenever he went up the ring, the seven-time world boxing champion is seen bending his knees in prayers and wearing an expensive rosary. For many of us Filipinos and the Pacquiao fans all over the world, - specially Catholics like him, those gestures are just like any other public religious display, a form of evangelism.
What I am not comfortable with this display of Christian faith is when Manny always attribute his every victory to divine intervention. But isn’t Jesus who he is thanking was associated often with people regarded by their contemporaries as losers like thieves, beggars, prostitutes and lepers? Were the people’s champ ‘victims’ forsaken by Jesus during the training and eventually the actual bout? Just asking.
In his book “Onward Christian Athletes,’’ Tom Krattenmaker would welcome, instead, a deeper, less doctrinaire and perhaps quieter injection of traditional Christian values into the world of sports. But Tennessee Titans All-Pro center Kevin Mawae said his Christianity is part of who he is and he can’t separate it from his life as an athlete or anywhere else. He said : “The fact that some people are jaded toward religion or faith shouldn’t stop a player from expressing his faith in public.” But Krattenmaker isn’t asking athletes to stop talking about religion but just to be more sensitive in their tone and timing.
Tone and timing. These reminded me of Manny Pacquiao’s claim that he have seen God face to face in his youth. In his 31st birthday bash in General Santos City last December he said in front of more than one thousand guests, “In my 31 years here on Earth, God appeared to me once and told me to have unconditional faith in him. I was not yet very popular and world champion when our God appeared to me and assured me of strength and power.”
Was it just reflection of the joy of the faith when Manny publicly talked about God this way? Or he just expressed good news with people? That I do not know.
All I know is Manny won over Joshua Clottey via wide decision just some minutes ago in Texas...
(Photo from www.nike.com)