24. The exercise of prayer

“What do you think is the most affective form of exercise?”

The question was posed to me by my sister, a student of athletics and medicine at the graduate level.

I started suggesting a list to her, “Aerobics? Swimming? Triathlon?”

Finally, she gave the answer, “It’s the one that you DO.”

Oh, of course. How simple.

***

Sometimes, on Tuesdays, I go to the circus gym, to swing from ropes and silks so that, on Wednesdays, my shoulders will be sore and my abs a little tighter.

Sometimes, when I go, I perform an awful workout. I can’t pull myself as well as the other people, my core gives out before I can complete a movement, I never quite nail any movement, and I leave tired.

But, I call my sister, and I tell her, and I say, “Well, a bad workout is better than no workout, right?”

***

On Saturday I was at a workshop and a woman asked, “How do you pray?”

And I thought for a second, and said to her, “Do you want to know the best form of prayer?”

And she said, “What?”

And I said, “The one you do.”

In a world of Taize chants and Latin mass and rosaries and novenas and Bible studies…pick the one you’ll do. And, remember: even a bad prayer session is better than no prayer session.

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