Dear participants of the 3rd Sportmeet International Congress,
I learned that you are gathered in Trent, the city where the Focolare Movement was born, for the Congress entitled “Sport and Joy – Joy runs together with true sport.”
I extend a particular greeting to all those present and to all the people of the city who will join you. To you, my ardent wish that this event may contribute to the expansion of “Trento Ardente” (Ardent Trent), a reality always very dear to us.
From ancient times, sport has been conceived as a time of rejoicing both for participants and spectators. It is not just by chance that the Olympic Games have endured up to our times
Christianity later gave value not only to the men and women who won, but also to the glory rendered to God who created people who are particularly gifted physically (be they individuals or groups), not to mention the contribution of the teachers, trainers and supporters.
With Christianity in particular, the losers learned the value of their suffering and defeat, because the Son of God has given value to these. Those who lose may even experience a deeper joy, that which comes from having given: given of themselves in endless hours of training or in co-operating as a team member that when united gives wholly of itself during a public performance.
Inner joy, the purest joy can come only from giving, from loving, on the part of the winners (if they strove and won out of love) as well as the losers (if they, too, strove and lost out of love).
Sport, then, becomes something true, worthy of being raised up to its dignity in society, something that provides true recreation for people in this very stressful civilization of ours. True sport then becomes an element that generates closeness, brotherhood and peace among peoples and nations.
In ancient Greece, all wars were suspended during the Olympic Games. May we not fall short of the example those people set for us.
With this wish, I greet all of you again, the youth in particular, whom I wish would experience the joy of true sport.