Old Sneakers by Paul Nolan
I once was a cradle Catholic with no devotion to Mary…
I was quite out of shape in adulthood with regards to practice of the Catholic faith and just as in physical conditioning, needed a personal trainer to guide me. So, Mary, of all possible candidates, first inspired me to start with a few push ups which gradually led to increasing the weight and building up my endurance. These “push ups” were begun as I was sinning during my commute to Charlotte some 15 years ago. During that drive, I often got extremely angry with fellow road warriors.
Mary, inserting herself as my personal trainer, suggested I say a Hail Mary each time I witnessed a driving offence
. . .AND. . .a Hail Mary for patience!
Wait!… Are you serious?! Dag gone it. That’s two Hail Mary’s for each offense, multiplied by numerous driving violations. Mother, have you seen the way these people drive down here? By this method, a backup of these ejaculatory prayers took longer to get through than the parking lot on interstate 77 northbound. She’s a tough cookie in her gentleness. This introductory workout to prayer developed and grew over time, which led to a nurturing fondness for our Blessed Mother and climaxed in one of the most dramatic confessions of my life. This event came about 350 miles from home in Chesapeake Virginia in 2008, while at business meetings in nearby Norfolk. In preparation for the holy day of obligation, The Feast of The Assumption, after a beautiful, complete, and thorough confession, I was asked by my confessor, “Is there anything else?” At that moment, I didn’t know how to get it out of my mouth, but knew that what was about to come out HAD to be said. So after what seemed like an eternal pause, I confessed that i didn’t trust or know our Blessed Mother. Father then very beautifully and emphatically responded…”Oh that’s a biggie!” That divinely inspired confession made way for the next set of exercises provided for by my Personal Trainer. The series of ‘God-incidences’ and warm consolations that followed also presented the onslaught of attacks by mr. nasty. But thanks to my PT, my strength and stamina increased which provided the fortitude to forge ahead.
My praying continues today, though I must confess that the rosary is a lesser routine than trying to compensate for the many bonehead maneuvers, excuse me, driving errors committed. So, the rosary has become my daily necessity. I need it along my commute as a matter of discipline, of virtue, of communication, and much more, all to stay in shape for my spiritual health. Thank you Mary, Mother of God, for being my Personal Trainer, in gently conditioning and thwacking me into shape for this lifelong marathon in hopes of crossing the finish line.