Your prayers for the Pittsburgh Marathon — and especially for the diocesan priests and seminarians who were running it and for the would-be sisters for whom they were running — have borne great fruit! Emily, one of the aspiring sisters (and one of the marthoners!), has a beautiful recap on the day, from which I will re-post just this one delightful tidbit:
As it turns out, the hills slowed me down a LOT. I'm not sure if it was just because it was raining and my shoes were wet, or if it was because I was unfamiliar with the course, or if it was because I had fasted with the sisters twice in the previous week, but I was not pounding up the hills with my accustomed ease. I entreated the seminarians to lead the Rosary, and thankfully they obliged. It was in this leg that I started to suffer a little - before I had almost felt badly for feeling so good - after all, I had a lot of people to pray for, and I wanted to be able to unite my sufferings to Christ's! The opportunity came, all right - I remember that we rounded a corner to find ourselves at the base of yet another hill, and someone asked what neighborhood we were in. Fr. Gregory simply responded, "this one is called Calvary." And while it may seem flippant or silly to liken our trudge up that hill to Christ's passion, I really did experience the union of those two experiences as I ran. A large part of me just wanted to stop, to give up, and to find somewhere warm, dry, and cozy. But what came to mind when I felt that was the people I was praying for - their faces showed clearly in my mind, and I ran up that hill (and several others!) for them.whole thing — especially the very good (and surprising!) news at the conclusion!
Then, be sure to check out this race recap from Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp over at CatholicMom, who reports on her recent participation in a marathon relay. God always puts us where we are for a reason, and in Lori’s case, she was there to be a fount of grace to some weary marathoners:
Then as I neared the 23 mile marker I noticed more marathon runners on the side of the road stretching or taking a break in pain. I said “I will pray for your pain” to one person on the side of the bridge I was crossing and as I said this and they said “thank you” I felt chills all through my body. I prayed “God please help the person in the orange shirt and black shorts to ease their pain and help them finish.” Thoughts and emotions raced through my mind and suddenly I realized I wasn’t in this race to win anything but to let people know that God was there and I felt God call me on a mission to pray for everyone who was injured, and there were many. As I would see a person in pain I would get their attention, make eye contact and say “I am praying for you now”. Then I saw a man about 30 years old with his ear plugs from his iPod on and gestured to him. He removed the ear plugs and said “hey” I replied “what’s your name?” He said “Thad” and I said “Thad, I will pray for you right now!” A huge smile formed across his pain stricken face and the sensation of God’s presence was so great that I almost felt a jolt of chills hit my body.This one, too, needs to be read in its entirety. Thank you God for your wonderful servants!