A Litany for Today’s Semi Final

Yes, a litany.

It feels at once silly and superstitious, and necessary and blessed to be fasting and praying for my team today. I’m wearing a rosary, a symbol of my home country’s religious identity and its citizens’ dependence on God and carrying around my team’s jersey as a talisman – er, blankie, really.

The rosary around my neck makes me feel connected to the sounds, sights and smells of my childhood; steeped in football, love, coffee and the brilliant, Brazilian sun that made striking pine trees grow tall as the redwoods I’d only heard about backed by the creative power and might of a brilliant creator who made and makes everything shine.
The light shines in the darkness, the people living in darkness have seen a great light, and today, a nation crazed with football hysteria and clouded by grief at our fallen team member will see a great light as our heroes step forward to represent their country. Tears will fall, the stadium will ring with the epic anthem; hugs and smiles and faith will carry a team who shoulders immense pressure to win at home and exorcise the demons of a home-soil loss all those years ago.

And my prayer is that they will. They give glory and honor where they are due. Every goal culminates in a player running the field, fingers pointed toward the heavens in thanks to a God who’s been with them through everything, and who has now brought them here, to shine.
The same God will be with them today. God will walk out with them, and God will be the wind at their feet as our boys in yellow take the pitch.

For the swoosh of the net and emblazoned cries of “GOOOOOOALLLLL!”For swift feet and shots spot on target,
Lord, hear our prayer

For the healing of Neymar, and for team morale,
Lord, hear our prayer

For strength, safety and courage, strength of will and peace of heart,
Lord, hear our prayer

For Thiago Silva as he supports his team, this time from the sidelines,
Lord, hear our prayer

For a nation that lives and breathes football , parents of dirt-caked little boys who want to grow up to play for their country,
Lord hear our prayer

For David Luiz as he dons the Captain’s band today,
Lord, hear our prayer

For the future Neymars, Davids, and Thiagos of the world,
Lord, hear our prayer

For the love of God in each heart that soars or breaks today, for the glory of God in our national team’s talent,
Lord, hear our prayer

In gratitude for this beautiful game, the great equalizing bridge between a favela and a mansion, and in impassioned supplication for the win,
Lord, hear our prayer

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