Balance, balance, balance, nowadays balance is one of those buzzwords and if we’re not careful it can become synonymous with lukewarmness, mediocrity and indifference when it comes to prayer.

Yet when we look at the celebrities and famous and successful people at least in the eyes of the world, finding the balance doesn’t make them less effective in their work or career, makes them more!!

And should it not be the same then with our spiritual lives. The more we find the balance, the more our spiritual lives will accelerate!!

How you might ask?

Easy!

The key you see isn’t to pray less, it’s to pray differently.

Taking my own life as an example even if it’s still a work in progress I attend two masses most days, spend time in silent adoration during the day and at night, I write blogs, council people, evangelise..

And while I love all these things, they can be very intense and emotionally draining and so to balance things out Jesus has me going to the gym, travelling by cycling most of the time and I’ve just started to swim again!

The physical activity gives me a break from all the spiritual activity and it actually helps me because I’ve found that it’s often as I’m exercising that I get ideas for my blogs, prayers etc.

Yet it’s not just that! I also see all this physical activity as another way of praying and of praising God for the gift of life and ironically as I’m exercising I’ve ended up meeting many more people, talking to them about Jesus and being even more blessed.

It’s also true that when we do other activities such as sports or gardening or whatever, others who are not as spiritual find it easier to relate to us and it challenges them too on prayer. A lot of people are afraid of becoming “Holy Joe’s” so when they see us with healthy and balanced lives it breaks their stereotypes, prejudices and fears and paves the way for them to invite Jesus into their lives too

Personally there are so many more things and activities that I would like to incorporate into my life and I have found finding the balance more difficult than most due to almost 15 years of constant moving and travelling.

Yet that said, God has always given me a love for walking and for swimming and perhaps that’s why the fitness instructor at the gym yesterday was quite amazed that I’m 38 and despite being new to the gym world doing all the classes as if I had been going to the gym all my life!

Another point to add is that prayer enhances our natural gifts too.

Some people think that God is just interested in our spiritual wellbeing and thus cleansing our souls of pride and lust etc. And of course this is a very real and important part of grace but it’s not everything!!

Part of keeping us holy is also keeping us healthily employed! You’ve all heard the expression “the devil makes works for idle hands” and so God in His wisdom not only puts us to work, He helps us and inspires us with the work!!

I wrote before how the Holy Spirit guides me and helps me in the gym and that’s not all, He helps me writing, blogging, cycling, budgeting, swimming……And he’ll help you too!

As he helps us in our ordinary activities we grow in virtues like patience, gratitude, appreciation for the gift of life and as I mentioned, it keeps us balanced.

“Work hard, play hard” is a motto the world uses. I prefer “Pray hard, play hard” as I remind myself that “joy of the Lord is our strength”.

Now all this sounds well and good but you may feel that it’s too much or even impossible and I completely understand. I’ve spent the last 15 years trying to find the balance for me and I’m still finding it!! By the time I’ve perfected it I may be 90 but one thing is sure and certain, I’ve made enormous progress!

What’s the secret?

Wrong question!

Who’s the secret?

Bingo!!! Mammy of course!

I guess I always was a “Mammy’ boy” as many Irish guys are and so who better to help us find the balance in life than our heavenly Mammy Mary through the power of prayer and especially the rosary!

So there you go! Now it’s time for me to cycle to mass, go to the gym etc.

Wishing you all a great day and praying that you too will find the right balance in your lives and ministries that keeps you smiling and happy come what may!

Blessings to all

Michael