Bible verse 1: Philippians 3:13-14
Bible verse 2: Timothy 2:6-8
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not exactly an athlete. My mother LOVES to tell anyone who will listen about the time I tried out for the middle school volleyball team in seventh grade. My friends and I showed up to tryouts in our board shorts and t-shirts amongst a crowd of muscled girls in spiffy spandex shorts and tank tops featuring the names of past competitions.
These girls knew what they were doing. They could smack the ball in perfect arches over the net and return them just as gracefully. My friends and I, however, struggled to keep up and looked more like we were playing soccer with how often the ball hit the net.
Needless to say, we didn’t make the team.
I was, however, the bass player in the jazz band. And not the electric bass, I’m talking about the giant stand-up bass, the one that stood about two feet taller than me. Well, one morning my mom is carrying my bass to the music room when she runs into the volleyball coach, who can’t help but comment: “Well, that’s a big violin!” And of course my mom replies, “I wouldn’t be carrying it if you’d let my daughter on the team!"
My athletic career began and ended with those volleyball tryouts.
The good news is that we don’t have to be in peak physical condition or do high intensity cardio as followers of Christ (unless, of course, that’s what he’s calling you to do!), but Paul’s analogy of the Christian life to a race is one we can gain a lot of goodness from.
When you follow Christ, your life does transform a bit into a race. You suddenly have this goal, and it isn’t easy. Christ promised us that it wouldn’t be (you know, the narrow path and all), so we’ve got to work just as hard as an athlete preparing for an epic marathon. Have you ever seen someone training for a marathon? They eat, sleep, and breathe running. They log miles, schedule intensive workouts, and fuel their bodies with the proper nutrition. We, likewise, as runners for Christ need to log prayers, strive for good works, workout our faith muscles daily. We need to take in good nutrition (the Eucharist and scripture) to fuel our souls. We need to have an attitude that constantly is reaching towards our goal: Jesus Christ.
This means we need to forget our past. We need to stop dwelling on our failures, on how weak we were and are, we need to not wallow in our past sins. No matter how often we fall, how often we want to give up, let’s keep running, sisters, because with Jesus, we’ll always have a spot on the team.
Reflection question 1: What are some practical ways you can “train” for your race to Christ?
Reflection question 2: What are some of the things that stand in the way of your pursuit of this goal?
Act: Today, do a little extra “training”, maybe that means going to daily mass, praying a rosary, or spending a little extra time doing spiritual reading. Whatever works for you!