Most football fans know that a “Hail Mary” is a desperate pass to the endzone hoping that one of your receivers can catch the ball and get the win for your team. Earlier today my friend Brother Kevin Kriso, OFM sent me a text message that asked me to join millions of others around the world for a “Hail Mary” moment of prayer to relieve the Coronavirus pandemic. The message also asked me to pass the message on to then others and ask them to share it as well. I prayed a “Hail Mary” and passed on the message. As I walked today I continued to pray. I often pray when I walk and more often than not it’s the “Hail Mary.” It’s my go to prayer in almost any circumstance.
Is Mary listening? Is God listening? Is there a God? Does prayer work? Those are all valid questions and I hope that some prayers or positive energy can save the day. People around the globe are dying every day and in increasing numbers as this pandemic unleashes its fury. Prayer is really our only hope. What else can we do?
Prayer walking is a mindful meditation that stills my racing mind and keeps me from freaking out. Sometimes I say the Serenity Prayer when I walk. Mindful walking can center the mind and relieve stress. I’ve been walking mindfully for many years and frequently have my best thoughts while I’m striding along. You may not have a large area to walk in but you can still walk mindfully aware of what you are doing and focus your energy for good.
The celebration of the Eucharist at St. Philomena’s was something I planned to attend last night when I retired to bed. This morning at 6:30 I was thinking of excuses not to attend and to stay between the flannel sheets. The spirit moved me out of bed at 6:40 and after an abbreviated yoga routine I got ready to walk the one mile from our home to the church. Once I was out of the house and walking down the hill I was grateful to be up and moving at a time when most of our village is still not quite awake. The air was still, the sky was blue and I was grateful to be up and out. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at St. Philomena R.C. Church. Mass today was in the chapel. There were four other people plus Fr. Marino in attendance. I actually arrived in the middle of the first reading. I love the little chapel. It is such and intimate setting for what is really a celebration of the Lord’s Supper or Passover Seder which took place in a dining room not in a synagogue.
Following Mass I continued my walk down Plymouth Avenue to Main Street and throughout the village for a total of over five miles. Walking can be a contemplative exercise and I like to think that my walks are just that. I’m grateful to be alive and able to walk about and enjoy the sights and sounds of life in a small village and one that has been my home for over thirty-five years.
One of the joys of retirement is the opportunity to spend more time outdoors walking. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been walking about two or three miles each day. Uphill, downhill, side streets, main streets. An hour or sometimes less each day. During my walk today I happened to see and old friend who asked me if I knew how far I had walked each day. I don’t really know and it’s not all that important but I’m a curious fellow and wouldn’t it be fun to know. A half dozen years ago I bought a pedometer and fastened it to my belt. I was amazed how much walking I was doing at work. I was walking four to five miles each day. Nowadays, with smart phone technology there are apps that can function very nicely to give us lots of information about how we’re walking or running. Up until today I thought that was interesting information but no application in my own life. Today, I downloaded my first walking app to see how far I’m walking. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s stroll already.