High time for a short one. I have written rather lengthily and didactically lately, so here's a more meditative post. I went to morning Mass today—I really love receiving my Lord in the morning—and Father had an encouraging homily about my post topic, the mindset of champions. He spoke of how easy it was, when we were children, to be so impatient on long road trips. "Are we there yet?" is our question that inevitably comes hours before we anywhere near our destination. And how marathon runners are so inspiring because they have somehow conditioned their minds or hearts or bodies to believe that they can finish the race, that it is possible, that they can go that next mile, even when their bodies tell them to stop.
So it is in our spiritual life. And I find, so it is in my preparation for religious life. I have always believed myself to be in the category of "slow and steady" when it comes to running. My pace may be like a turtle's, but I get myself into a rhythm where I can endure for a long time. Endurance running (or endurance jogging is much more accurate).
Father encouraged us today to have that mindset of marathon runners, the mindset of champions. To teach ourselves to go one more mile, to keep moving forward and push past the pain of the moment. Because the suffering is to be expected, the pain is going to be worth it in the end, and, in some way, the pain is what strengthens our will. For when we have the discipline to push past the pain, our will is strengthened into something a little bit superhuman. Not that we want to become masochists, or turn our pain into something we do for the sake of a stronger will. But we push past it for the sake of "the glory that is to come." Our path as Christians is to be marked by suffering, for it is literally the path of a Christ-follower, and His road led to ultimate suffering and beyond—to ultimate ecstasy.
I find I need to grow in the mindset of a champion. I am an impatient woman. I want to find my order now, or soon. I want to give my two weeks' notice tomorrow. I want to leave behind all I have and all I do to go and be who I am meant to become.
But that is not the way of champions. That is the way of deserters. I must wait, and patiently endure. I must commit faithfully to what still lies in front of me. I must get "my ducks in a row". I must finish these upcoming miles before the finish line—it would be inglorious for me to jump on a truck out of the marathon and speed right past the finish line, bypassing all the fruits of those miles in between, the miles of my upcoming months. I am not really willing to do that, even if my heart longs to give up this glory. I will push through that pain. And I will grow stronger because of it.
And maybe someday God will crown me a champion for it. Fiat.
 


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