One of the main themes of my website is that prayer is exercise for the soul. In a previous post I said that we should let the Holy Spirit be our personal trainer and allow Him guide us in our prayer life. I came across this article where someone did just that. Stacy Peterson used to pray the rosary while jogging until she injured her ankle and could not run. She took it as a sign that God was calling her to pray to Him in a different way.
From the article:
For some reason God’s will for me this summer is to contemplate him in the stillness I find hard to achieve when I am of sound body. Since my injury enforces a driving hiatus, I must sit and read to my “little ones” from whom I can become distracted during my hectic days of bustling around the house and town. Weeks of healing have given me the gift of listening to tiny voices doing “talk-overs” for Polly Pockets. Their pleasure at play reminds me that my Heavenly Father, too, delights in my smallest endeavors, like when I “crutch over” to inspect sun-kissed blueberry bushes.
This woman really knows the meaning of “not my will, but Your will be done.” How many of us would see a broken leg as a blessing and an opportunity to pray differently? If it were me, I would be a little disgruntled that God took away my usual and comfortable way of praying. But as we can see in any of the Sorrowful Mysteries, God’s plan for us isn’t always comfortable and can sometimes be a challenge. But like Jesus in His Agony in the Garden, we can overcome any obstacle when we ask God earnestly for the strength to do His will.
Further in the article, Stacy discusses how the Holy Spirit drew her out of her comfort zone:
The theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are the gifts that the Holy Spirit infused into my soul at my baptism and through worthy reception of the Sacraments, to draw me away from myself and unite me to the Trinity during this apparent trial.
In physical fitness, a personal trainer will switch up exercises so that your muscles don’t get too comfortable with the usual routine and stop developing. In other words, our muscles need a challenge to grow and develop. The Holy Spirit can do the same thing with our spiritual fitness. We need variety and depth in our prayer to build spiritual muscle. And like a good trainer, sometimes the Holy Spirit needs to push us hard especially when we become too comfortable or complacent with our usual routine.
I’m not saying that God deliberately broke this woman’s leg to force her to pray differently. But I do think that the Holy Spirit lead her to a new way to approach prayer after her injury. Because she had already built up a good spiritual base, she was receptive to what the Holy Spirit had to offer. And that is why it is so important to pray regularly. We all need to have the reservoir of grace so that we can follow God’s will and grow in faith even when life hits us with the unexpected.
PS: Interestingly enough, it looks like even the Pope needs a little spiritual kick every now and then. Regarding his recent wrist injury, Pope Benedict said:
Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility, give me more time for prayer and meditation.
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- FROM CALIFORNIA CATHOLIC DAILY: News from the Trenches (deaconforlife.blogspot.com)