"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Staying Fit and Fit to Stay

By Micky Wolf

I recently read an article about a world renowned athlete who trains daily, keeps an eye on what she eats, and always makes sure she has time to rest and relax between events. This attention to maintaining a healthy body, mind and spirit is common among those engaged in professional sports. What made her story a bit different was her belief she would never be too experienced, too successful, or too wise to learn something new—about herself or her technique. Her reality of personal excellence--if she was more than capable of teaching and mentoring others, she was definitely always going to be a student as well.

The process of exercising, as well as that of learning or refining skills, can evoke some pretty strong reactions, mostly having to do with resistance. Wouldn’t it be great, we muse, if someone has finally come up with a way to incorporate personal improvement without a lot of movement, repetition, sweat, or pain? Not wanting to perpetuate any false hope, this treatise does not resolve that dilemma.

However, Christians have an excellent example of the importance of fitness, learning and endurance as lived by Apostle Paul of Tarsus. He is quite comfortable using sports and lifestyle metaphors as ways to convey encouragement and instruction for developing, exercising and strengthening our spiritual well being.

By their definitions, exercising and learning incorporate and associate a variety of words and meanings, several of which follow. So, Paul, it’s your turn—a few nuggets of wisdom to get us motivated and moving for our spiritual workout.
  •  Act
 …if one does acts of mercy, do so with cheerfulness. [Romans 12:8]
  • Action
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. [Romans 7:15]
  •  Activity
And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders. [2 Thessalonians 2:8-9]
  • Discipline
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. [Ephesians 6:4]
  • Exertion
So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 
[Romans 9:16]
  • Study
          Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed,   
           rightly dividing the word of truth. [2 Timothy 2:15]
  •  Toil
            …and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we 
            are persecuted, we endure… [1 Corinthians 4:12]
  •  Train
            Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives' tales. Train yourself in 
            godliness…[1 Timothy 4:7]

Staying fit—and being fit to stay the course of life, whether physically or spiritually—greatly depends on the choices we make. There is no denying the dying and death of our earthly body. At the same time the end of the story, so to speak, for our spirit-being, can be vastly different. In that light, being a mentor as well as a student means making good choices to:
  • be active
  • discipline self
  • exert energy through the strength of God within
  • study Sacred Scripture
  • toil faithfully with an honest heart
  • continually train our intellect in the Truth of God
 A commitment to ongoing learning results in increased physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual healthiness, stamina, and endurance. And in the process, the joy we carry within the earthen vessel of self becomes an ever increasing reservoir of love, compassion and caring to be given and shared in service to our fellow sojourners.

Do I consider myself spiritually fit?

Do I sense resistance to becoming more spiritually fit? Why?

What one choice could I make this moment to improve my fitness for the journey?


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