Training Ground for the Soul

Read time: ~4.2 minutes

I grew up as an only child, so I was always the first person awake in my house on Christmas morning. However, on that wonderful holiday morning in 2017, I didn’t wake up with uncontrollable excitement like I had when I was a boy. Instead, I was woken up by the blast of a suicide bomber that attacked our outpost in Kabul, Afghanistan. The impact of him driving his vehicle-borne improvised explosive device into one of our perimeter defense positions shook our entire compound. And with that, I was reminded that this Christmas would be much different than all the others before it.

Life often hits us with the unexpected. Some people say the only consistent thing in life is inconsistency. Despite knowing that, we still allow ourselves to build homes within our comfort zones, hoping that we won’t ever be forced to adapt or change. The thing that gives a warrior great confidence in battle is all the training that he or she must undergo before being deemed ready to fight. We practice dealing with unforeseen scenarios that force us to respond in ways that sometimes mean life or death. We vigorously push ourselves because we know that we will never rise to the occasion, but rather we will fall to the level of our training.

Prayer and the sacraments are the first training grounds of the soul. We all find ourselves in the midst of the battle between good and evil daily. You may be like me, resting in your bed on a holiday in hopes that today will be an easy day, and then BOOM! your world is thrust into chaos. In the moments we find ourselves surprised, afraid, and unsure how to act, the only thing we know to do is rely on our instincts. These instincts must be formed far before they are truly needed in battle.

This is why God invites us to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word on a daily basis. This is why He comes to fill us with grace through the sacraments. This is why He provides us with weapons like the rosary. It’s because God knows that, whether we want it to or not, life is going to hit us hard someday. And when it does, whether it’s losing a loved one, losing your job, depression, anxiety, a temptation to sin, you name it, we are either going to be trained to put on the full armor of God and fight, or we will cower and give ourselves up to the Enemy.

The choice is yours. Are you going to commit to putting yourself through a prayer boot camp? Maybe you’re in a place in life where you need more of a spiritual Ranger School to be challenged to develop as a leader. No matter what stage of the journey you find yourself in, you know deep in your heart that you are called to fight. You were made for a battle like this, in times such as these. Therefore, make time each day to prepare for battle, because you never know when you’ll wake up to suddenly find yourself in the biggest fight of your life.

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