New Year's Resolution: Working out!

There’s a mysterious joy hidden somewhere in the madness of running a marathon!

Welcome to article 16 of a weekly series on the formation journey of Br. Josh, MIC, a second-year seminarian at the Marian House of Studies in Steubenville, Ohio. It is the continuation of Br. Josh's previous column, "Novice Notes." Watch for a new column every Friday.

By Br. Josh, MIC 

I was on the treadmill, running at a steady pace of 6.1 miles per hour, training for the marathon. My form was perfect for the first 4 miles, but after that, I started getting more and more tired. Now 7 miles since beginning the long run, I was reaching out to the handle bars frequently and putting a couple fingers on one of the bars to make sure my body kept going fast enough to stay on the treadmill!

I was praying Rosary after Rosary while running, sprinkled with Divine Mercy Chaplets and other prayers.

My goal for the day was to run 9 miles at this speed, which was a sufficient speed to finish the marathon I was training for. However, at this point, I was feeling very tired.

Pain and strength
I hopped off the treadmill briefly to swallow an electrolyte tablet and a few gulps of water.

Father Thad was working out nearby, and I glanced past him at an “encouraging saying” we have on the wall of the exercise room. I had a comment to make about it.

The encouraging saying is: “The PAIN you feel today is the STRENGTH you’ll feel tomorrow!”

I told Fr. Thad, “When you’re training for a marathon, this could be rewritten as: The PAIN you feel today is the MISERY you’ll feel tomorrow!”

He laughed. “Fair point!”

Mysterious joy
Brother David, a companion from the Washington, D.C., novitiate, mentioned to me later, “I can’t imagine trying to run 26 miles.”

“Neither can I,” I agreed, making him laugh.

“It sounds like torture!” he exclaimed.

“I agree,” I acknowledged.

That’s the madness! But, there’s a mysterious joy hidden somewhere in that madness!

That night, relaxing as I sat on a comfortable easy-chair with our community, I watched a movie about a couple of elderly uncles who had magnificent, exciting adventures in their youth. The uncles have a young nephew who learns more and more about the uncles’ lives throughout the movie.

The uncles die in a plane crash when they are 90 years old, performing flying stunts in the air. They “died with their boots on,” as one character observed. At the end of the film, the main character says, “They really lived.” 

That saying jumped out at me, resonating with my heart’s desires. They “really lived.” 

Pope St. John Paul II famously declared, “Do not be afraid!” I, too, wish to die with my boots on in whatever way glorifies God most, having “really lived.”

Next: "A New Major."
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