Belvedere College can boast another sporting hero after Dublin’s magnificent win in the All Ireland football final in Croke Park on Sunday 18 September. Number 6 on the team, Ger Brennan, is a former pupil, and he told AMDG Express that his Jesuit education has helped him in his spiritual and sporting life. “In sport you learn how to deal with success and failure; how to give up selfish individualistic tendencies and play as a team, how to live in the present. And those are some of the Christian values I learnt at school.” The centre half back for Dublin, who is also a teacher, says he loves the buzz and excitment of sport and he offers it all in thanks to God, remembering that St Ignatius taught that “we can find God in all things”. He remembers writing AMDG ( for the greater glory of God) on his copy book.
Ger Brennan: interview for AMDG Express
[On A.M.D.G.] “We did that before each class started, and really that was a great lesson for me because I do believe that all we do, if we strive to do our best, is for the glory of God.”
He says he prays but wishes he prayed as hard as he does when training for matches and he laughs when asked did he pray to God that Dublin would win the Sam Maguire!
“I don’t ask God for things that I can do for myself and my whole understanding of prayer has changed from when I was younger. Like most people I turn more to God when things aren’t going so well, but I try not to bargain or bribe. Instead I thank him for all the gifts I’ve been given in my life- another thing that St Ignatius talks about- gratitude.
“But most of all I like Psalm 62, which begins Only in God is my soul at rest, from him comes my salvation. When I played rugby in Belvedere we always sang the John Michael Talbot version of it before matches, and when I went back to teach there for a while they were still singing it. It really sums up what I believe, and that prayer has played an important part in my life.”
As has Ignatian spirituality. “When you play a game you have to be totally in the present moment. You have to detach from all the background noise and what went before has to be forgotten. And that’s what Ignatian prayer teaches too- coming into the present, overcoming distractions, coming to God just as you are.”