A military chaplain stole the show over the weekend, when he gave the invocation at the Army-Navy football game.
Chaplain Col. Matthew Pawlikowski of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point began the opening prayer Saturday by explaining why he was petitioning God to keep the athletes safe during the game.
“God of Wonders, some wonder why we pray for a football game. So I tell them, in this game, every player on the field is willing to die for every person watching,” he prayed. “And there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for what’s truly good. And so, God, I do pray for these players, on this field, and all the good they represent.”
"Some wonder why we pray for a football game. So I tell them – in this game every player on the field is willing to die for every person watching."
— Daren Stoltzfus (@DarenStoltzfus) December 9, 2018
Pawlikowski’s words were a reference to John 15:13, which reads, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
The chaplain went on to pray, “In your eyes, Oh, God, it is not the critic who counts, but those who actually step into the arena. And so, Almighty God, we who are willing to die for others, we salute you. Let this game begin. Amen.”
Pawlikowski’s prayer was met with intense applause from both the players and those gathered at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for Saturday’s game.
The Army pulled out a win over the Navy, with a final score of 17-10.
This isn’t the first time Pawlikowski has garnered national attention for his prayers. In 2016, he created social media buzz after he was seen praying the rosary along the sidelines of the Army-Navy game.
At the time, he told the Catholic News Agency he prays for both teams and no serious injuries on either side. Pawlikowski added he prays, too, for the salvation of the players.
“And then I ask for Army’s victory,” he said.