The Original Christian Sports Ministry: Training in the Life of Prayer
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Epistle to the Hebrews 12:1-2
The Original Christian Sports Ministry
Christian sports ministries seem to be growing in popularity, and it is understandable why. Deep down, we know that being Christian requires an athletic frame of mind. It requires training, teamwork, concentration, acquired skill. It requires that we contend, giving our best and fullest.
In the early ages of the Church, Christians were discouraged from participating in secular games. Instead, Christians contended in the unseen, spiritual warfare of a life devoted to prayer. Mons Nubifer Sanctus provides the original Christian sports ministry: training in this way of prayer. It is in the heart of prayer where the Christian athlete really contends in the struggle of good and evil. It is in the heart of prayer where the Christian athlete overcomes this struggle by the astounding revelation of God’s preeminence.
Retreat Center, or Training Center?
Though we at Mons Nubifer Sanctus publicly call ourselves a Christian spiritual retreat center, we realize that the description can be deceiving. Sometimes, when people think of going on retreat, they think about going away to relax. They think about doing their own thing for a while. Perhaps the more cynical among us (myself, admittedly) conjure up images of forced participation in any number of touchy-feely, juvenile group exercises aimed at … at what? Well, perhaps the aim is not all that clear, but it’s the journey that matters, right? Not so in the life of prayer. It is the destination that matters—that we find as our end the One who is also beginning.1See Rev 1:8; 22:13.
While these kinds of retreats have their place, and (I confess) may occur from time to time at Mons Nubifer Sanctus, we prefer to think of ourselves less of a retreat center and more as a center for spiritual training. Contemplative boot camp, perhaps, but with an eye towards grace, as opposed to force of arms, where our victory is in loving surrender to the beatific verity of God, a prize never won by earthly strength.
The Fullness of the Christian Faith: Celebration and Repentance
Lest all of this sound too grim, we do our share of celebrating here. You see, we provide training in the fullness of the Christian life, in keeping the feast as well as the fast. We are a seminary for everyday Christians in the original sense of that word: literally “a plant nursery,” a place where seeds are sown and encouraged toward fruitful maturity. Saint Benedict of Nursia called the monastery “a school for the Lord’s service,”2(Benedict of Nursia, Rule, Prologue, 45). and that is precisely what we are, but not for monks and nuns. Our programs are designed with the everyday Christian in mind; the Christian who has a deep desire for contemplative union with God but still needs to navigate a marriage, family, work, and all the challenges and pitfalls of secular life.
Christian athletes come here to train in prayer. A silent retreat here is like a baseball player’s spring training. Christian disciples come to brush up on their plays, exercise spiritual muscles fallen into little use, so that they might return into their lives renewed, fortified, and reminded of the one needful thing.3See Lk 10:42.
Spiritual Training In and Through Relationship
But Christian spiritual training at Mons Nubifer Sanctus also makes you a part of a team. We nurture both formal and informal relationships of support. These range from the more solemn relationship that professed students, members of the Christian Order of the Cloud, might have to Mons Nubifer Sanctus and its abbot (the coach, if you will), to the familiar friendships and support networks that form when people regularly attend our programs.
Join the Team
Do you like Christian sports ministries? We invite you to join our team and contend with us in the match that matters most, the life of prayer. Try a Christian spiritual retreat at Mons Nubifer Sanctus.
Mons Nubifer Sanctus: Christian spiritual training in the fullness of the ancient faith.
References [ + ]
|1.||￪||See Rev 1:8; 22:13.|
|2.||￪||(Benedict of Nursia, Rule, Prologue, 45).|
|3.||￪||See Lk 10:42.|