Filling the Spiritual Tank

“What happened to you?” my friend asked when he saw me drenched in sweat walking down the hall in our dorm. “I was running,” I explained. “Oh my goodness, from who?” he asked. This rotund friend, nicknamed the Fry-King by our group of friends, could not understand the point of running. We talked about it and he confessed that he had tried running a few times but gave up. I didactically elucidated the subtleties of running and when his eyes were significantly glazed over he wandered off. Realizing my mistake, I apologized to him and tried again. Simplifying this time I said, “There are two keys to running: to start and to continue. That is pretty much it.”
When people have told me about their struggles with prayer, I typically give the same advice. Start, continue, and repeat…always repeat. It is madness to think that we have to build up to prayer or condition ourselves before diving in. This is as unnecessary as a requirement to buy a new outfit in order to go running. Admittedly, a kick-start would be nice since the spiritual tank often feels empty after we cruise on fumes for a while. In fact, this is where God shines forth. Fulton Sheen once spoke of the “loop of grace” where we empty ourselves and God fills us. The outpouring of His grace is so freely given that we only need to focus on being open to receive it. And how are we best disposed to receive it? In prayer, of course, when our mind and heart are open. Prayer is like cracking the door for God and offering an invitation to come in. Then what? Start and continue…and repeat. Before long, we can look up from the prayer and recognize the path before us that leads deeper and deeper into the spiritual realm.


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