Monday, May 24, 2010

Exercising our core

LUKE 24: 46-53


We have to exercise our core. What is that? Until a few months ago, I did not know either. I run. I put one leg in front of the other and run. Simple. What more is there to know? I found out that I am ignorant. Running is a skill that requires the "entire" body work together, or else. I used to exercise my upper body with weight machines and my lower body with running and eliptical machines, or bikes. Then I found out about the core, the middle part of the body that is made up of the tummy, lower back rib area and lower abdomen. Those parts I apparently ignored.

A runner ignores the core to their own peril. Why? How? When I run, I will get tired. When I tire, my upper body starts to lean forward in a more pronounced way. This takes up the space that my knees had as they lifted when I was running fresh. My knees cannot lift so easily because my upper body is getting in the way. My hips are shifting to the back of my body and this is no good for running. I have to get my upper body to straighten up more. How? Exercise my weak core muscles. They are the muscles that will make me stand up straighter when I walk and run.

I started doing core exercises. They were very difficult and painful. I could not do very many at first. I was finding muscles I did not know I even had. Now I am able to get my upper body out of the way when I tire, so my knees meet less resistance as they lift. I run better, more efficiently.

Jesus has to get out of the way if he wants his disciples to do all he wants them to do. As long as Jesus is around, in the flesh, the disciples will follow him, and watch. At best, they will worship his Risen Body. They will be onlookers. He wants more from them. When Jesus ascends into heaven the disciples are able to do is stand around and look up at the sky. The Spirit they will soon receive will be like the core of the body. The Spirit will be present but can easily be ignored. They will have to work with the Spirit to do what Jesus has commanded of them, to preach and live the gospel, to become Church.

At first it will be painful to begin to become all that Jesus meant for his followers to be. It is a bit like beginning to get the core of the body into shape. We always have the core, but we can ignore it, and fail to run to our full potential. We always have the Spirit, from our Baptism, but we can ignore it and never reach our full potential as human beings made in God's image and likeness.

We exercise our Spiritual Core in worship, private prayer, and Scripture reflection. When we are more advanced in our Spiritual Fitness, we will do kind deeds with a loving heart, regardless of people's response. We will act in a loving manner and leave the results up to God.

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