Running The Rosary (Cont.)
by Skippy Guiness
Running the Rosary
The modern athletic track is made for running. The rubberized surface reduces the risk of injury and the track markings guide runners through a variety of workouts. A standard track has six to eight lanes, each about 42 inches wide and separated by white lines. Distances are easy to count: one lap is 400 meters, 2 1/2 laps are one kilometer, 4 laps are just about one mile. The best thing about the track is that no matter how far you run you are never more than two hundred meters from where you started. The worst thing about the track is that it is mind-numbing boring.
The ancient Rosary is made for prayer. The Mysteries tell the most important stories in the lives of Jesus and his mother while the beads mark the way through the mysteries. Traditionally, the Rosary is made up of three groups of five mysteries: the Joyful, the Sorrowful, and the Glorious. In modern times Pope John Paul II advocated a fourth set of five Luminous, or Mysteries of Light. The best thing about the Rosary is that no matter how far your mind wanders the beads can put you back on track. The worst thing about the Rosary is that, like the track, it is mind-numbing boring.
The key to Running the Rosary is to twist exercise and prayer into one effort, like a beer pretzel, so that they support each other. Concentration helps overcome the pain and fatigue of running and the Mysteries provide topics for concentration. I run one lap for one Mystery and use the beads and track markings to guide my progress.
God didn't make me a strong runner. He gave me wide feet, sensitive metatarsals and webbed toes. I shuffle around the track carrying a belly that changes shape with the seasons. Still, the system works well enough. My gut is closer to volleyball than basketball and with the grace of God maybe my sins and errors are similarly proportioned.
In top form I run a five-mile Rosary of all 20 mysteries. Unfortunately, injury, apathy and industry make "top" a rare form. I invite you to keep reading. Join me as I try to run that five-mile Rosary...
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