Run the Race: Grow and Go

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This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Faith Magazine.

Anyone who’s played sports, pursued music or developed a new personal skill or trait has probably heard it said, “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse!” While overly simplistic, this motivational quote speaks to a human truth; stagnation or lethargy does not produce things that are new, better, and transformed. Not surprisingly, this also applies to our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24, St. Paul compares our journey to heaven to a foot race, “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.” The takeaway here is not that only one of us is getting into heaven, but the same mentality and disciplines of training hard, moving quickly and crossing the finish line apply to our Christian journey. We then are faced with the question, “How do we run?” The Church provides 2,000 years of insights, inspiration and teachings on what it looks like for us to “run,” but I want to boil it down to the two fundamental invitations given to all baptized Catholics: the universal call to holiness and the universal call to mission. Just as a healthy runner utilizes both legs, holiness and mission must be utilized in tandem to achieve maximum speed and ensure finishing the course.

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Pete Burak

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and has a Master’s Degree in Theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Pete is a frequent speaker on discipleship, evangelization, and young adult topics, and he is the co-director of Pine Hills Boys Camp. Pete and his wife, Cait, have four children.