Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spiritual Reflections on the First Sunday of Lent

Yesterday's run was a gift from God.  The weather--while nippy--was not really that cold.  I had not tried to find a temperature right near my house (I sometimes overlook the fact that a "Baltimore" temperature often means out in the more open area where the airport is a half hour from here).  Looking at "Yesterday's Weather" on the weather channel website with my zip code suggests if was actually 40 degrees most of the time while I ran yesterday.  That truly is perfect and with hat and an extra layer, I was probably overdressed.  The run alone gave me time just to enjoy the run for one thing only--the sake of running and how it bring me closer to the end of a three year quest--to qualify for and then run a respectable time in Boston.  At one point I said, "If I run Boston it will be my last." I'm not sure if I will stick to that assertion or not, but certainly after Boston for a while I will limit the number of very long runs I do and probably change my workouts to focus more on speeding up my track times and my 5K.

In any case, glancing at today's Catholic mass readings fro Deuteronomy, Psalm 91 (which is quoted heavily in On Eagles Wings, a standard for years at Catholic contemporary masses), the letter the Romans, and then the story of Jesus in the desert for 40 days from Luke's gospel, many things caught my attention.  Today at mass, the worship band with which I play will sing a song called "40 Days".  But what caught my attention most was the reading from Romans--chapter 10 verses 8-13.

In the context of what the reading is about, it focuses on belief being realized by confessing with your mouth and believing with your heart.  In this case, confessing is not confessing as in going to the sacrament of reconciliation but confessing as it stating a belief very clearly.  I find the idea useful in situations outside of church as well as for my spiritual well being.  If you really are passionate about something then it should be something you can talk about, something you are willing to talk about, and something that you hold dear in your heart at the core of your soul.  I am lucky to be in a position where I can balance (or at least try to balance in life) multiple things that I am passionate about at this level.  I suppose am lucky to be in a position where I can do this with even one thing.  If we think about Maslow's triangle representing a hierarchy of needs, when I get to that level I am pretty sure that all the basics are taken care of and I am at self-actualization.  To be there is yet another gift from God--a gift I celebrate every day--and something that guides me in my actions to help others achieve the same.  A Facebook friend posed the question the other day what makes my heart sore.  Leaving aside obvious answers like love for wife and children, I said, "Helping others to achieve."  Outside religion, that is what I confess with my mouth and believe with my heart is one of the most critical things that I am called on to do.  

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