Have You Lost your first love?

This morning I got on my Peleton bike for a ride I had planned through cyberspace with a fellow teammate. I had joined a six-week challenge with a group of riders who were dedicated to our Lord. There were hundreds of them, thousands even. Different denominations and time zones, ages and sexes. But in this six-weeks, we were all on the bike for Him- united in our purpose to grow in our fitness journey and in our faith.

I had planned to do a ride “out of order” and posted in our group on Facebook to see who would join me. The same gal that had joined me for a ride last week, raised her hand and volunteered to join me this week. I was excited, thinking that I wouldn’t be alone, riding in the early morning hours. The teams are designed to place “hands on your back” as Instructor Christine D’Ercole would say, and certainly I felt that I would have one.

I got on the bike, GU down the throat, a swig or two of water, towel across my handlebars and ready. I looked over at the leaderboard and noticed another member of our team had joined, but I didn’t see my “friend.” I was sad and disappointed.

We had made plans, I thought to myself.

I was disappointed and felt alone on the bike, but I was determined to push through. Some encouraging words; I needed to do a spiritual “remodel” and remember my purpose- to get better, to ride the race that was set before me, to focus. Still, I couldn’t help but think of my missing “friend.”

I received many high-fives on that leaderboard, even some from another teammate of mine who was riding. But nothing compensated in my heart for my “friend” and I wondered if she was ok. Had she abandoned me? Was something wrong?

The high 5’s kept coming in and I felt stronger. I embraced the hands that were on my back. I was riding stronger than ever, listening to the instructor’s cues and remembering my purpose.

By the end of the ride I was inside of it. The leaderboard seemed to disappear. I was joyful, even too much so. And then came that teammate of mine with more high-fives, the encouragement that I needed. I took it, not feeling so abandoned anymore.

I jumped into a quick stretch and yoga class and decided to post about how phenomenal the ride was. In fact, it was the best ride I had ever taken. I hoped my “friend” wouldn’t be offended, but at least I had that other teammate of mine on the leaderboard and hoped she would see my message.

A minute later I saw my “friend” respond.

It was so great riding with you! Thank you for inviting me!

It was in that moment that I realized that the lady who was high-fiving me was my “friend.” I hadn’t realized it was her. I had mixed up her leaderboard name with her “real” name, and I realized that she was there the whole time…

And isn’t that just like God? When we think he abandons us, He is right there. We sit and we wonder, Where are you Lord, I need you, when in fact He was right there walking beside us, and our eyes simply were not open.

Today if you cannot feel His presence, return to Him. Ask Him where He is. Don’t place expectations on where that may be , but instead let him lead you there. You may find yourself returning to your first love, after having fallen, but this time with Him at your side.

90 Seconds

How do you live one moment at a time? You cannot. This concept is wholly secular. Moments are increments of time that pass in movement from once frame to the next. They are snippets. They are still frames that can only be entered once the “moment” has passed. And, we move on to the next moment…

There is a lot of pressure to live “in” the moment. But moments are passing shadows. The movement of a shadow on a sundial covered 40 moments in a solar hour. On average, a moment corresponds to 90 seconds. And moments, (for all that they are not these days), were marked by a call to prayer at various intervals throughout the day. They were not a random “creation” of moments, they were an intentional calling on God, a movement towards Him. Even the earliest reference to the moment was defined by a Saint (St. Bede the Venerable).

When taken out of context, the moment becomes distorted, like other concepts extracted from out of their holy boxes. The world takes them and twists them to fit their own relativism, where one is in control of who and what they are. The God-man is lost in self-help books and do-it-yourselfers. And the moment? The moment fades away (how very cliche).

But if we return to mark our own moments, good and bad, can God change them? Can He use them? Or does the passage of 90 seconds define our whole lives? Each bead of the rosary marks a moment that I can change, a prayer, defining me. The now is the now I ask for Mary to pray for me, in this very moment, fifty times.

So the decades of the rosary are made up of moments, are marked by intentional prayer, are graces I give away after consecrating myself to our Holy Mother. And in those moments that have passed me without prayer, can I strive to make them holy by praying over them, especially the ones that stop me from enjoying life, the ones that rob me of my joy?

I say, contradict the world.

LET THE MOMENT PASS. DON’T HOLD ONTO IT. Jesus said as much to Mary Magdalene…