Physical Balance

Aug 27, 2023

Fr. Michael Schleupner, a favorite spiritual director for retreats here at the Center, recently shared this inspiring reflection so we thought you may enjoy it too! Take a few quiet moments to pray on this message of keeping our sights on Jesus.

Physical Balance

Five years ago, I participated in a strength and balance class at a fitness center. One of the balance exercises was to stand on one foot. We werestorms of life to concentrate on placing all of our weight on one foot – let’s say my left foot. Then we were slowly to raise the right foot about six inches off of the floor,and touch the side of our left leg with the right foot. We were to try to stand that way, with all weight on one foot for about ten seconds. But, to succeed in doing this, the trainer advised us not to look at ourselves or others in the mirror or at anything in motion. Instead, we were to keep our eyes focused on a fixed, still point on the floor. The reason is that if we were looking at something or someone that was moving, we would move too and would not keep our balance. So, keeping my eyes focused on that fixed, still point helped me to maintain my balance standing on one foot.

Peter’s Balance in the Storm

Well, I am not here today to lead us in exercises for physical balance –unless you would all like to stand and give this a try! I am suggesting that the trainer’s guidance is also excellent spiritual guidance. Look what happens to Peter in today’s gospel (Matt. 14:22-33).

Peter steps out of the boat to walk on the water. At first, his eyes are on Jesus, and he is okay. But then, Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus and gets focused on the wind and the waves. He gets focused on the storm and quickly starts to sink. The point is that when Peter keeps his eyes focused on Jesus – the fixed or still point – when Peter keeps his eyes there, he keeps his balance and is dealing fine with the storm. But when he takes his eyes off of Jesus, he’s in trouble.

Our Storms

I believe that there are storms in all our lives – no exceptions! For me, one that I remember very well is when I was thirty years old. I had been a priest for four years and seemed to be doing well. But all of a sudden, I began seriously questioning my vocation. Eventually things got sorted out and resolved, but wow, that was quite a storm for me for the better part of a year.

There are lots of other possible storms. Waiting for a doctor’s report about a possible cancer, a heart attack, the death of your husband, wife, child, or parent, an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or gambling, the loss of a job, the break-up of a marriage, and on it goes.

Our Balance in Storms

I believe that keeping our eyes focused on Jesus in these storms is crucial. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus as our fixed or still point. He will help us to keep our spiritual balance and get through the storms.

Practically speaking, I offer two recommendations to help with this. First, at the beginning of each day, pray. It can be your own prayer, right from your heart. It can be a prayer you have learned or a prayer in a prayerbook. It can be one of the psalms or a short passage from one of the gospels. It doesn’t have to be long – maybe five minutes or even less.

But every day – no exceptions – pray in the morning. And then, second, think of one word or a phrase that you can repeat throughout the day –maybe from your prayer or maybe from the Scripture. For example: “Jesus, be with me.” Or “I am with you always.” Or “Do not be afraid” – as Jesus says to the disciples in todays’ gospel. They are just examples. The idea is to pick a word or phrase, and then, repeat it throughout the day – wherever you are, whatever you are doing. It is a good way to keep our eyes on Jesus as the fixed or still point of our lives. It is a good way to keep our balance and get through the storms of life.

~Fr. Michael Schleupner

Would you like to receive Fr. Michael’s Inbox Inspirations? Click here!