Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

Running with the Spirit


More and more I am finding that the spiritual life is a lot like running. I'm not the first to have thought of the metaphor - it thoroughly saturates St. Paul's epistles.

During my prayer, say a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, I frequently experience a pattern that starts with a sort of getting started, or warm-up period. After that sets in a peace, a sort of groove. At some point, but a run and a time in prayer often become very difficult. My back starts to hurt, either from the running or the kneeling; there is distraction and I just lose my balance, so to so speak. The temptation to stop, either running or praying, becomes very fierce. My whole world contracts to the ache in my knees, or to the old women kneeling behind me and mumbling her prayers too loud. Everything else becomes a loud blur. I cry out in my heart for help. Sometimes I quit. Sometimes I just push through and finish up as quickly as possible. But sometimes, the peace returns - more intense yet more serene. Questions are answered; stress is relieved; a joy wells up, or at least thaws and loosens a cold hardness just underneath my skin - the shell that shields, protects, and closes off my heart. I relax and am washed in peace. God is so merciful.

After Lent, I think I will explore running as a metaphor for the spiritual life, both from my own experiences and in St. Paul's writings. That will be interesting. It might be better to wait until after Eastertide, when the Ordinary wear-and-tear of life sets in again.

1 comment:

Lori Madison said...

I like this metaphor, that of running, in reference to the spiritual life. I always feel, at least at this point, that the desire to pray and stay with in the moment with the prayer is difficult. Years ago when I attended a Catholic church near my home, I experienced a similar issue with someone talking and giggling in the pew behind me and it just throws you off. I enjoyed reading your post. Have a blessed Easter.