I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
(2 Timothy 4:6-7)
As you read this you will be more than half-way through your Lenten journey. How is it going for you? Have you been able to use the weekly breath prayer on a daily basis? Did you take one of the blue papers with suggestions for each day’s “fast?” Were you able to pray daily for St. Luke’s and listen for God’s guidance? How has this “race” through Lent affected your daily life – or has it?
In this last chapter of his second letter to Timothy, Paul gives a moving self-testimony by reviewing his ministry through the imagery of a race well run. Paul had been a faithful servant of Christ responsible for bringing the Gospel to Europe and ensuring its success as a universal religion. Paul is acknowledging that he put everything he had into the race of his life. He fought well and finished well – and through it all kept his faith and he is encouraging others to do the same.
In The Message, Eugene Peterson phrases the text this way: “This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way.” What about us? Are we in the race and are we running hard? How do we finish? What impressions have we left on our life journeys? What impressions are we leaving daily as we interact with others? Have we “kept the faith” and “believed all the way?” Do others see us living our faith and spreading the Gospel through our actions? Remember the words of St. Francis of Assisi who said, “Preach the Gospel at all times - and when necessary use words.”
I pray that as we continue our journey through Lent, we are each “preaching the Gospel” daily and renewing our spiritual lives so that we may “run hard right to the finish!” God calls us to take time each day in the midst of our busy schedules to be with him. When we make time for God, we become more aware of God’s presence and blessings in our lives and we can more fully share that truth with others.
So during these last few weeks of your Lenten journey, run the race hard – and well. Keep the faith, believing that as we follow Jesus to the cross, we too will experience God’s amazing resurrection in our lives.
God’s blessings of Lenten courage and Easter joy!