Wednesday. November 16, 1983

Early this morning I went out for a long-distance run with Fr. Manny. This was one of our occasional “running-meeting” — mixing meeting and exercise — a good preparation for the difficult times ahead when we will always be on the run. After 13 kilometers, Manny headed back to Hinatuan while I continued running to Tagongon before turning back. It was a beautiful run across the rough and mountainous terrain and passing through a cliff overlooking the winding Hinatuan river. I could smell the sweet aroma of the pines from the nearby forest. The soft breeze behind me was so refreshing. I felt one with nature and with creation. I became aware of God’s presence. I felt I could run forever. The words of Isaiah crossed my mind: “But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall soar with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary.” I was able to run 40 kilometers in 3 hours and 40 minutes. I think I’m ready for the Third Manila International Marathon.
For me the religious and missionary life is like a marathon. What is important in not the speed but the endurance and perseverance. To sprint or to run hard all the time can easily burn out the runner and he may not reach the finish line. The runner needs to know himself — his capacity, potentials and limitations. The pace in which one runs the marathon must be based on these factors. The more relaxed the runner, the faster he can run and the longer he will endure. In the marathon, the runner does not run against others. He runs with others. In the process, he discovers his full potential and ultimate limits. In the end, what is most important is to run the full distance and reach the finish line (despite the discouragement, the cramps, and the exhaustion). St. Paul, who must have been a runner in his youth, wrote:

“But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of the preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God. As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life. I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:5-7)

I hope this text will be etched on my tomb as my epitaph when I am gone.

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