Father Kris is a priest on the run. In the first VLOG (video blog) episode of this new Grandin Media series, Fr. Kris Schmidt’s ‘Punish Your Body” brings together the discipline of athletes with St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians. It just might leave you out of breath.
St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians says: “Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.”
It starts with the goal.
I can’t set out thinking “in about 10 minutes this is gonna start to really hurt.” I think “today I’m going to climb these stairs”
The goal has to be real and it has to be within reach, otherwise all I’m going to see is pain and no gain.
Once I’ve set the right goal, now and can learn how I’m going to get there.
There’s no way I can aimlessly start running and expect to climb 5 flights of stairs. Maybe today I run half and walk half.
Could I run 5 flights today? Maybe, but tomorrow I won’t be able to get out of bed.
The discipline of faith has to be like this. I can’t pray 1 hour today and then not pray for 2 weeks. Little increments of faithful self-control help us to grow in our capacity for God.
Like the athlete who increases his cardiovascular capacity, our hearts have to grow in our capacity to receive grace. Yet, like the athlete, if all I think about is how hard it is to sit in prayer for 15 minutes, I’m never going to pray.
What’s my goal? Why do I do what I do? Set the goal and learn how to recommit to it again and again.
If the goal isn’t working, rethink it. If I want to climb 5 flights by next week, maybe I need to rethink it. If I want to experience the bliss of heaven by my 40th birthday, maybe I need to rethink it.
Keep in mind the imperishable wreath, exercise control in small things, punish your sinful body and run the race.