Practice Makes Perfect?

Sports-balls-1You’re young and show up for practice to teach you the tools you need to efficiently perform your sport. You regularly practice and never miss a practice (verb and noun from the same word) until you get it right. That’s life’s formula preparing you for whatever career, because of your learned sport’s discipline.

Oh, but wait! If you become either a doctor or lawyer, you never stop practicing. What’s with that?

“I sold my practice a couple of years ago” to a larger law firm says a retiring lawyer. Who’d want to buy a “practice?” Didn’t they get it right after all those years? “I want to begin my own practice,” says a young doctor and that one I understand. Get yourself out there. Do some good things. Get to know your patients. (Another great use of the word “patient,” when starring at the table sign that says, “If you’ve been waiting for more than fifteen minutes…” My concluding end of the sentence is, “Now you are truly a patient. Please find a different doctor.

Still practicing?

Both lawyer and doctor have practiced their respective careers only to retire, still practicing. Where’s the feeling of perfection and satisfaction after a stressful day? Where’s the word “practice” in confidence and pleasure?” “The practice went well today,” the coach says to the anxious team about tomorrow’s big game. “I know we’re ready, now let’s get out there.” See! The practice is over and tomorrow is the performance to demonstrate what the practicing did.

With my pretend Masses at ten-years-old, I practiced and imagined who I could be. I tried to mimic the real thing I witnessed daily at Church. Fast forward eighteen years and I’m standing in front of a congregation wishing for words of encouragement or enlightenment to lighten up their upcoming week. You can see it in their eyes staring up at me, “Give me something Father that I can take home with me tonight. Something to remind myself of, something to teach my children, something I can carry to work with me.”

I guess my first few sermons were practice. I got to know the people and threw away all my graduate notes with words no one uses in daily conversation. I talked to them. I wanted a chuckle from them to know they’re listening. I wanted to zing them at the end to sharpen my point. I was no longer practicing, I was preaching, and they’re listening.

“You are who you represent yourself to be.”

A wise friend told me, “You are who you represent yourself to be.” I carry that with me daily. Those guys rose up above priests in our cultural status with their “practices, ” but I’ve perfected the gift given to me. I’m not practicing priesthood. I now know the confidence and satisfaction when Mass has ended.

Patient or client? I hope I never become either but I know that you and I will always need someone who knows what he’s talking about.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up



About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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