It’s January again—time to get in shape, both physically and spiritually. I love to combine the two, whether running and praying the Rosary or lifting weights and reflecting on the Stations of the Cross. There are so many ideas to add a spiritual dimension to your workouts, but I thought I’d share one of my favorites.
Over 20 years ago, my future husband introduced me to the sport of road biking, and I fell in love with the freedom of the open road. I have biked thousands of miles, in all parts of the country, finding adventure, friendship and fitness along the way.
I prefer to ride with my husband or a friend, but my commitments as wife, mother and freelance writer compel me to do most of my rides by myself. I often use the time alone to pray, and I find that the combination of rhythmic pedaling and the beauty of nature really opens my mind for meditation.
My husband and friends worry about me riding alone, but they needn’t because I have all kinds of heavenly protection. It all started a few years ago when I invited St. Christopher to accompany me on my rides to protect me and the travelers who shared the roads with me. Later, I added St. Francis of Assisi after a scare with a country dog. When I discovered that both Pope Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Pier Giorgio were cyclists, I asked them to tag along. I wanted to add some female athletes, and since St. Gianna, St. Theresa of the Andes and St. Lidwina realized the importance of exercise, they too have become my companions. Of course it’s a given that my constant companion, my guardian angel, is also part of my heavenly peloton.
On the country roads I ride, I pass many small cemeteries, which remind me to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Since I’m told they are overjoyed to be asked to pray for others, I invite them to join the ride and pray for the intentions of the Rosary I often pray as I pedal.
I always return from these rides refreshed in both body and soul. If only others could see this holy parade of angels, saints and souls floating behind my Fuji Supreme road bike, then maybe more people would take up cycling (or maybe more cyclists would start praying).
Copyright 2013 Peggy Bowes