In the arena

April 29, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt in his 1910 speech , “Citizenship in a Republic” shares these powerful thoughts:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

What a challenge Teddy Roosevelt throws to us!   In terms of our faith, his words force me to ask myself:

  • Am I living my faith in the arena of life or am I standing on the outskirts?
  • Do I continue to persist in my faith life despite errors or shortcomings?
  • Does my faith propel me to share my great enthusiasm for God?
  • Do I spend my time for a worthy cause?
  • Do I dare greatly in living and sharing my faith?

What about you?  Which words do you feel compelled to sit with a bit longer?  What is God inviting you to notice?


Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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