Saturday, September 22, 2007
Saturday in the 24th Week of Ordinary Time (I)
Endurance of the Heart
Readings: 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Psalms 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5; Luke 8:4-15
Much of it is mind over matter. That’s what distance runners tell us. Here, for example are some quotes from an online article on the importance of mental endurance in distance running: A lot of running is mental," says Chicago ultrarunner Scott Jacaway. "You need the physical part, but when you go long distance, it becomes a mental thing." …. "You've got to get yourself mentally to Never-Neverland," says Stuart Schulman, a former marathoner and ultrarunner... When he ran, he says he'd refocus his mind off the race and onto something else, like the scenery, "so you don't concentrate on your misery. And then you just wake up five miles later."
Don’t concentrate on your misery… Sounds like good advice not just for runners but also for us Christians, called as we are to go the distance in following Christ. As Jesus tells us in the all too familiar parable of the sower and the seed: the ones who yield a rich harvest are those who persevere in keeping the word of God. Similarly, in the first reading, Paul puts to Timothy the duty of doing all that you have been told, with no faults or failures, until the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ… In our efforts to heed the call to perseverance, perhaps there’s something to learn from the distance runners. Perhaps it is important for us to learn, from time to time, to refocus our thoughts, to take our minds off our own difficulties and discomfort and onto the One whom we follow, whom, as Paul tells us, at the due time will be revealed by God, the blessed and only Ruler of all…
Not an easy thing to do, especially since the revelation we are awaiting comes from One whom no one has seen or is able to see… How then to set our minds on this invisible One? Will we not rather tend to fall back on feeling sorry for ourselves? Which is why it’s important to see that perseverance is not just about mind over matter. It really involves primarily the heart. Towards the end of the article mentioned earlier, for example, we find these words: "I've always felt like my secret weapon is my love of the sport," ... "I also remind myself that the process is more important than the outcome, that racing is something I choose to and love to do."
How powerful is love if it can motivate someone to sacrifice so much all for the sake of a sport. And how much more powerful will love be if it were for the Word who became flesh and died for us, as well as for the people in whom the Word remains present in our midst. Who then are the ones who yield a rich harvest? Who are the ones able to persevere in the midst of difficulty and discomfort? Not so much those who only have strong minds, but those who with a noble and generous heart have heard the word and take it to themselves…
How are you running the race today?
Posted by Fr Chris at 9:58 am