By Karen Pullano
The Discipline of Decision
I usually hit the one mile mark at around the third mystery of the rosary and by this point I am getting tired. (yes, already. I know…..lame..)
I’m looking to relieve the growing discomfort and it’s distracting me away from the prayer. In fact, the three decades left suddenly seem insufferably long. As you know, I decided at the outset that this whole treadmill thing would be a time of prayer and sacrifice in my day, and here it is; the test. But, I got this. I force myself to re-focus on the words I am saying (in my head, since I can’t actually speak) and not the pain.
This works for a bit, but before long my mind has drifted back to the lead weights I am hefting up and down and I’m seriously wondering when this will end!
The fourth mystery begins, but my God, when did two decades get so long?? Quitting is not an option, so I force my mind back to the cross on the wall. As long as I stay there, I’m distracted from the pain. Fifth mystery has me wondering if I really can finish it off. I’m approaching the two mile mark and it’s like a tennis match in my mind. Back to the prayer. But, oh the pain. What if I have an actual heart attack? What better way to go than with “Hail Mary, full of grace…?” And suddenly it’s done! Victory! I am alive and well.
In suffering, the minute I let my mind slip away from Christ, and turn to my pain, it can become unbearable. It takes a conscious act of my will to ‘take captive every thought’ and decide to change course. Turning back to Jesus and the cross and focusing on Him allows the suffering to become secondary and not so all-consuming. Getting my mind off of my pain doesn’t necessarily come easily. On the contrary, it often comes with a price: an offering or a sacrifice. It is a challenge that sometimes takes a strength I don’t realize I even possess, and the victory is sweeter for it. Once I make the decision, by the power of my free will, grace abounds and my meager offerings are multiplied. This is always how God has worked in our salvation history, with us, teaching us, so that we can grow in wisdom, grace and love.
“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” (Heb 12:1-2)
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Last Call for the Ladies!