I can’t sit on the sidelines

IMG_4885by Seminarian Vincent Gillmore

You may as well know this about me upfront: I am a distance runner. It’s one on of the things I grew up on. My older brother and I used to race each other at everything in the backyard. We would even create obstacle courses and see how many times we could each trim off the time of the previous “world record.” We ran laps around the house which eventually became laps up and down the street. We were the only two soccer players on the team who actually enjoyed running laps. When my older brother took to the track, I followed him just a season later. It cemented a relationship with running that I never have walked away from completely. I left it for a time when the pressure of racing became too much in junior high and for a few later stints, mainly when I struggled with injuries.

When I met (then-seminarian) Fr. Mike Keucher in the summer of 2012, I was still in the middle of an injury phase before entering the seminary that fall. It had been over two years that I aggravated my right Achilles tendon and never could quite shake that injury since then. Still, it did not take Fr. Mike long to recruit me to run in the Race for Vocations for the spring of 2013. I ended up doing the 5K because I found that moderation was the best cure I could find for my Achilles at the time. I stuck with it and in 2016, I finished my first official Mini-Marathon. As for the injury problems, I have found a way by patiently and prayerfully finding the best way over the long haul.

I have come to realize that getting ready to run in this race is a lot like the process of life itself…there are so many ways to do life wrong – so many ways to overdo it, then sit on the sidelines with injuries, then over-adjust, and overdo it again. But there is only one way to do life right – and that is through making a habit of prayer and patience to receive grace for each step of the long haul. Life can be a confusing, disheartening growth cycle at times, but prayerful patience is the only way to see what a beautiful calling that your Father and Creator has planted underneath the random irritations, boredoms, and busyness of daily life. Each year that I run in the Race for Vocations and the events surrounding, it’s like a reminder for me that I am not just stuck in a cycle of pointless changing, that I am being shaped and grown for a beautiful calling just like you are. I plan to run the Mini-Marathon again this year and I hope to see you there at the Mass for Vocations the night before and under the vocations tents after the run, whether you run or walk and whether you’re in the 5K or the mini. More importantly, I hope that you find it in you to practice believing differently from people who are afraid: to practice believing that you are being called to a vocation of greatness through prayerful patience. You’ll be so glad you did once you cross that next finish line.