DON’T DROP YOUR BATON
I have always enjoyed watching a track meet on television. There are many events that fun to watch, such as the hurtles, the high jump, and pole vault. My favorite track event is the team relay, where four of the fastest runners compete, each one racing one turn around the oval. In this particular athletic event, it is important to designate the first runner as setting the pace, the second and third runner with maintaining the pace, and the last runner, the one with special skills of speed and endurance, to make it to the finish line. There is one other aspect of the relay that is important and that is the hand-off. This is a make or break event where one runner finishes and the other one graps the baton and scampers off. Dropping the baton means you will lose the event.
My latest Lectio Divina meditation (Philippians 2:5) had to do with a track meet with four other team members who must hand off the baton to the next person.
My meditation begins with my being at Inman Field in Vincennes, Indiana (where I actually participated in a relay track event and was embarrassing). A track relay event is like the whole experience of the Sacred, it has a bunch of handoffs. There are four other members of my team.https://www.vcsc.k12.in.us/athletic-facilities/
ADAM – Adam begins the race of our seeking God because he was created by God to run the race. Unfortunate for him, he dropped the baton which he received from God.
JESUS — Humanity had to wait for Jesus to pick up the dropped baton and run with it. Fortunately for us, Jesus is a good runner and finished his heat by handing it off to the next runner, Peter.
PETER – Peter was the next runner but was flawed, having dropped the baton several times in practice. With the Holy Spirit as his coach, Peter found the courage to rise above his deficiencies and ran the race, although not at the fastest speed. Peter is the Church and in each age, for each individual gives them the opportunity to pick up the next baton and run the final lap.
ME — I get to run the last lap when I am given the opportunity to be a member of the team and take the handoff from the Church. The Church provides me with the coaching to sustain me in my life as I run to the finish line, heaven.
REFLECTIONS ON THE RACE OF A LIFETIME
- When I use this example in my mediations, I think of how fortunate I am that God wants me as a member of His team (I am a member of God’s team by His choice, not mine). I must agree to be on the team and to finish the race, even if I stop along the way because I am out of breath).
- All the team members are linked together as one team, one coach, one race.
- All of us want to win our lap of the race, even if we are out of shape and need the help of coaching to get us ready to receive our crown of victory.
- Satan is on the opposition talking trash about how bad I am and how I can’t finish the race because I am on the wrong team. He can’t stop me from running but he can play games with my mind and heart.
- Because of the tools which Christ left me and passed on through the Church Universal, I have God’s own energy at my disposal if I just ask for it. Contemplative practices and charisms are the exercises I do to keep in shape so I can hear my coach, The Holy Spirit, encourage me that, even though I am flawed, like St. Peter, I can make it to the end.
- Each individual, each human, gets a chance to get handed the baton for that last lap. Some don’t know they are in the race, some do know, but don’t have the skills to run or grasp the baton, letting it fall to the ground, which some grasp at Baptism and run to the best of their abilities for the prize. Faith helps in the running and grasp of the baton so we don’t drop it. Hope is that we can finish the race with the help of the Holy Spirit and reach the finish line, rejecting Satan and all his empty promises. Love is the inner strength, that of God’s own energy that compels us forward, not because of our efforts, but due to the pure love God has for us.
- In this race of a lifetime, we can get out of breath many times and must stop and make all things new again in, with, and through Christ in the Cistercian practices and charism that help us be present to God each day.
- God won’t run the race for us, but he is jogging along beside us the whole way. Come to me, all you who are heavily burdened and I will refresh you.
- All those in heaven who have gone before us cheer us on in our lifetime to persevere, have courage, don’t stop, and never give in to Satan. They pray for us to run the good race and fight the good fight. They are our Hall of Famers that give those of us still on earth Hope that the Resurrection is real and that a great gathering awaits us when we die.