This is my favorite form of exercise--prayer walking. Okay, so I’m killing two birds with one stone. The old expression meaning, I achieved two things with one action. This is something I’ve enjoyed doing for decades. It’s a discipline—that is, sometimes I have to force my will to get to the park where there’s a walking trail. The first half mile I can feel a little stiff, but going on the second mile I’m loosened up and happy to be there.
Yes, there are certain prayers I pray—I meditate on the mysteries of the rosary for the day. BTW, those mysteries focus on the life of Christ, not Mary as some are mistaken. Then I call on the litany of my favorite saints and invite them to come and be with me—to intercede. A few of them are: St. Therese of Liseaux, St. Joseph, St. Benedict, St. John Paul…who I call on is a whole other story—so for now…I continue brisk walking and pray for the sanctification of priests whom I know and then usually pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before my three miles are finished. Somewhere in between the litany and chaplet, I listen after asking the Lord to speak to me—in that still small voice.
Today I received lovely thoughts about motherhood, from conception to the birth of a child and how that nine month period puts mothers in the throes of the paschal mystery. The what? Paschal mystery—meaning the dying, rising and going forth of life. Like Jesus when he lived, then died and rose again. It’s what we experience in life whether we realize it or not.
So regarding motherhood, I was thinking about the joy of conception—there’s a rising, generally speaking, until the first bump in the road of pregnancy—maybe that “bump” is slight morning sickness or perhaps more severe, maybe there is tiredness, or repulsion of certain foods, and thus we’re dying to self. We cooperate with this experience of discomfort to bring life into this world. One day we might feel well and the next day not so much. And such is the paschal mystery that can change from day to day, week to week or month to month. Certainly throughout nine months or a year we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of the paschal mystery—up and down, again and again, dying and rising and going forth.
But here’s the main point that resonated with me this morning on my walk—there’s birth after dying—there’s rising to new life, like after Jesus’ passion and death, there was the resurrection of his body. When women go into labor to deliver the child, that’s real suffering—real dying—pain brings death to self--not literally, but figuratively speaking. But, then the child is born. There is new life. So remember whenever you are going through painful experiences and dying to self, there is new life coming.
New life coming--now take that thought on your next prayer walk!