Monday, May 18, 2009

Run, Pray, Be Prepared be Joyful

Strenuous work (labor) like running is an important tool in being the body into subjection to the mind. We live in a culture which is always seeking the easy life that magic pill. It runs contrary to the purpose of our life and taking up our cross denying ourselves. I utilize my runs to scourge my body's desire for leisure and relaxation. It assists me in turning inward and to thoughts while keeping my body busy as it were. The prayer rope helps engage the body so the soul can prayer and I require something more demanding to keep out the distractions and the sleepiness which the enemy sends my way during prayer. The work or labor of the mind is to contemplate Godly things and just as God will work "good (in terms of salvation not some prosperity doctrine being touted by many) in all things for those that love Him", the mind must also be 'single minded' and dedicated to working for the good of our soul by guarding, educating, and feeding it with spiritual food. We must flee what is evil and labor for the spiritual gifts. For me runnign teaches me to push through what is not always easy or preferable. It teaches me concretely and repeatedly how i am capable of more then what i may have thought. It prepares my mind to take control and keep composure during difficult times and to trust the process. I know that i have faced adversity and even pain before and have become practiced at following through. having the rules as i discussed in my other blog on rules is not really a piece of the answer it is essential to being a good and faithful servant. It provides the necessary structure to the day, the hour the moment. It is the road map for this pilgrimage we are on. I have been blessed with the joy from Liturgy and Vespers. It is not that worship is easy but it has become time i look forward to and non negotiable. Let's all pray that we don't forsake the spiritual labor which is demanded of us. I need to find more time in my life for quiet time and reading so that i can be a kinder gentler personal especially to those i love. In the words of Saint John Chrysostom "It is not faith merely to profess belief, but to do works worthy of faith; ... for sound doctrines avail nothing towards our salvation, if our life is corrupt. ... For even though we have all faith and all knowledge of the Scriptures, yet if we are naked and destitute of the protection derived from (holy) living, there is nothing to hinder us from being hurried into the fire of hell; and burning forever in the unquenchable flame. For as they who have done good shall rise to life everlasting, so they who have dared the contrary shall rise to everlasting punishment; which never has an end. Let us, therefore, manifest all eagerness not to waste the gain, which accrues to us from a right faith, by our vile actions; but becoming well-pleasing to Him by these [i.e., our actions] also, boldly to look upon Christ. No happiness can be equal to this."

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