(When some people think that slipping and falling into sin is the best manner of finding Christ, there are those who still believe that prayer is the best way of meeting Him)
We referred to the distinctive ludic nature of the divine-human relationship of love when we discussed the declaration of the bride that she had been brought to the banquet house to contend with the Bridegroom in a contest of love.
The relationship between games and contests also called jousts and tournaments is well attested from time immemorial. The first Olympic competitions were called Games by the Greeks; the Romans used the same term to refer to those events celebrated in the Amphitheater or Circus. The latter, nevertheless, contained an element of cruelty, sometimes extreme, in the gladiatorial combats. There also was a fight to the death in the tournaments of the Medieval Period between competing knights, but only on special occasions and under much more humane conditions.
It follows from this that the elements of game and contest have always been linked. Yet we must add that the feature of amusement was part and parcel of both from ancient times and, therefore, was always present in competitions. It was not uncommon that the aspect of entertainment would remain as an exclusive attraction for the spectators, as always happened in the Roman amphitheaters where death matches were quite frequent.