Recently, I had invited a friend of mine who had fallen away from the Church to come to Mass. It was probably the first time he had been to Mass in three or four years. After Mass, he said to me, “I probably won’t come back – This did nothing for me.”
I am out of shape – It takes time to get back into shape
As it turns out, this friend and I are training together for a 5K race in July. We have been diligent about keeping a workout schedule and holding each other accountable. When he said that church does nothing from him I helped him to recall the beginning of our training a few weeks prior. I said, “Neither of us had run a yard in 10 years. What if we tried to run 3 miles in 24 minutes, failed miserably and then concluded ‘running does nothing for me?’” Really, if I haven’t run in years, how can I expect to be able to benefit from the sport in the first workout? Can I run around my neighborhood for five minutes and get on a scale and lament – “I haven’t lost any weight yet!”?
The practice of our faith is a spiritual workout. If you only go to church on Easter and Christmas, how could you possibly expect to be in good spiritual shape? If you don’t make prayer a habit, how can you expect to benefit from the exercise?
I have NEVER in my life run a 5K race. I thought it was out of my reach. But, by running only a mile for the first week, then a mile and a quarter the next and so on, I slowly learned that completing a 5K is attainable. On occasion, I dare think that perhaps a marathon is somewhere in my future.
Even a marathon starts with a small step
For those who have fallen away from the Church, I imagining returning to spiritual shape is a similar process. I image that for some, the process of turning one’s life over to Christ is a process that starts with one mile, then a mile and a quarter and so on……
I am still working on my friend. I would love to hear how some of you are working to get some of our brothers and sisters back into spiritual shape.