Walking as an Image of Faith

Couple walking in a parkMost people, if asked, would say that they like everything in their life to be in perfect equilibrium, perfect balance. Losing balance physically is the prelude to a fall. Balance tends to be valued, not only in the physical sense, but also in the emotional, spiritual, and mental sense. To become mentally or emotionally “unbalanced” is a euphemism for mental illness or distress.

Believing is leaning – Perfect equilibrium or balance is seldom to be found in the human person, but perhaps that is good, especially in the spiritual life. The spiritual life is really about leaning.

Equilibrium is overrated – Equilibrium may have its place in our physical bodies, but even there we must sometimes intentionally throw off our balance in order to make progress or for some other purpose. Let’s examine the act of walking. When I am standing still I am at equilibrium; I am balanced. But I am also getting nowhere. If I want to get somewhere, I have to walk. Now walking involves leaning and imbalance. When I walk, I lean and begin falling forward. I then catch myself with my foot before I fall. And the process continues: lean, fall, catch; lean, fall, catch. Only in this way can I walk and get somewhere. So equilibrium has its place, but sometimes it gets in the way of progress.

Consider walking, then, as an image for spiritual growth. We progress in the spiritual life not merely by “standing still” with the familiar and the easily understood, but also by “leaning forward” into the unknown and mysterious. As we do so, we are confident that God is true and reliable, and will uphold us if we lean forward on Him and on what He teaches.

This last point is important, because God’s teaching gives us a kind of range within which to lean; it does not invite us to reckless abandonment of His truth and teaching. If we do this, we lean too far and fall—fall into sin. But within the range He gives us, God leads us forward in the walk of faith.

All of us prefer the balance of the familiar and the easily understood. When we are balanced, we feel that we are in control. But true spiritual growth is a journey. A journey requires walking, and walking requires some “imbalance” and trust. In simple physical walking we “catch” ourselves; walking is a self-controlled fall. But in spiritual walking, it is God who catches us and who is in control. Do you want to get to Heaven? Do you want to journey home? Then you have to walk. Lean, trust, and keep saying “Amen!”

Dance! In this video, I wonder if you might consider a very elaborate form of walking that we call “dancing.” Now traditional dancing requires an enormous amount of leaning and, especially for the woman, a lot of trust as she allows the man to lead her. She must lean into his moves and follow his direction. In this video, the great Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance marvelously. But as you watch this, think of the Lord Jesus leading His bride the Church in a great dance of faith. Consider the trust that is necessary for the Church and for us as individuals as God leads us in the great walk, the great dance that is faith. Only by leaning, trusting, and following will our dance ever be “graceful.”  In the final dance move, Fred and Ginger leap over the rail of the dance floor and swirl through the doors. So, too, will we. If we as members of the Bride of Christ will but trust Him, follow His lead, and lean in the great walk, the great dance of faith, we, too, will leap off the dance floor one day and go through the gates of Heaven.

Enjoy this video. It shows Fred and Ginger at their finest. And as you watch, keep in mind the spiritual image.

4 Replies to “Walking as an Image of Faith”

  1. Yup, must get off our comfort zone of equilibrium sitting/standing still, get up and walk, run and even jump so as to reach the heaven in all its full glory. And, of course, gracefully dance with the Angels and Saints even while here on earth in HIS Presence in the sanctity of the Holy Mass. Yes, that is how the Holy Mass is celebrated in Africa, they dance and so with the Catholic Charismatics. Why not?They celebrate the Holy Mass with gusto, joyful and with jubilation. GOD Bless and thank you, Monsignor. Let us be saved from sour faced Christians.

  2. When did dancing stop being an expression of joy and become a monument to lust and athleticism? I watched the video and saw nothing but joy, pure innocent joy in their dancing (as with so many dance numbers of that era). Now it’s all about self. It’s about showing off the dancer and not the dance.

    Are today’s dancers any different than the dancers of old? Talent wise they are probably on par, but the watcher today is not. We have been robbed of sharing in that joy. We now feel lust, envy, pride in the modern dances, but only rarely do we feel joy, and when we do, it is almost accidental.

    I miss the old days. I hope this cycle of Sodom and Gamorrah in our culture ends before I die so I can see the joy of innocence once more.

  3. I could watch Fred Astaire dance all day long!

    I love to couples dance, and for a few years was able to learn couples Country Western dances with a dance partner; Two Step, Waltz, Double-two Step, and even a country version of Tango. Oh, how I enjoyed those days! Unfortunately the dance hall closed and no other was nearby and my dance partner went his own way, and so dancing on Friday or Saturday nights fell by the wayside. But going out for this kind of dancing is one of the most enjoyable nights of fun one can imagine!

    When you are the “follower” in a lead and follow dance, you must know the steps, but you have to relax your muscles in such a way that when the lead pulls you move forward, or pushes, you move back. As Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers demonstrate, you dance in unison, not pushing and pulling each other, but only the lead determines the next move. But since you know the steps, as the follower you can move in sync with what the lead is doing, simply by feeling the pressure to move forward or back or turn left or right.

    And now Msgr., you have given me some wonderful imagery: Jesus dancing with His lovely Bride. Jesus dancing with us! Thank you!

  4. A society that is in denial about the natural law should learn a lesson from the law of gravity.

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