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The Deacon's Bench

Ask yourself that question after reading this item about Ramadan and Muslim NFL star Husain Abdullah (a grateful diaconal bow to Scott Dodge for this gem):

NFL practices this time of year are designed for maximum sweat production. Coaches are trying to build up stamina and endurance. Players push themselves to the limit, in pursuit of jobs and starting spots. It’s also really, really hot.

And starting on Aug. 11, the beginning of the Islamic month of Ramadan, Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah will be going through these practices without the benefit of water. Or food. Or any other kind of hydration.

During Ramadan, observing Muslims like Abdullah will fast for 30 days; eating or drinking nothing while the sun is out. Food and drink are permitted after dark and before sunrise, but during the day, there’s nada — not a tiny little sip of water, or the smallest release of Powerade’s mystic mountain blueberry.

From the AP:

Even while sprinting in the heat and humidity during drills, sometimes in full pads, Abdullah is adamant about his faith. He will not allow himself so much as a cup of water until the sun sets and before it rises.

“I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion,” Abdullah said. “This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.”

How many of us live our faith that fiercely? How often do we stumble during Lent, when giving up a candy bar during the week or a Big Mac on Friday qualifies in our feeble minds as Heroic Sacrifice? How many of us throw a pillow at the alarm clock and roll over on Sunday morning instead of going to mass?

“I put nothing before God, nothing before my religion…”

Wouldn’t you like to be able to say that, and mean it?

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