The Exercise of Our Lives

From a short meditation on the essence of the Christian life:

The entire life of a Christian is in fact an exercise in holy desire. You do not see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied.

Such is our Christian life. By desiring heaven we exercise the powers of our soul. Now this exercise will be effective only to the extent that we free ourselves from desires leading to infatuation with this world.

The parallels to our physical lives are striking. After all, we all know that exercise is essential to good health. Furthermore, we know that even when we’re in an exercise zone that’s still not enough, that in fact we need more – for example to eat right and sleep enough – for that exercise to have the desired effect.

If we’re willing to do this for our bodies – whose decline and eventual demise we know looms even now – how much more should we be willing to strengthen our spiritual selves in order to be ready for eternity?

A Desire Not Yet Fulfilled
But even more striking for me is the idea that holy longing – our desire for heaven not yet fulfilled – is the very stuff that God can use to strengthen our spiritual selves.

It’s that call of heaven that can only be filled one way, in striving and contending for eternal joy.


This is drawn from the second reading of this morning’s office of the readings, drawn from a sermon by St. Augustine on 1 John.

The Exercise of Our Lives

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