by Ken Rolheiser
Running with Martyrs and Saints

A young disciple asked his teacher, “Why is it that some who seek God come to the desert and are zealous in prayer but leave after a year or so, while others, like you, remain faithful to the quest for a lifetime?”
The old man smiled and answered, “One day I was sitting here quietly in the sun with my dog. Suddenly a large white rabbit ran across in front of them. The dog jumped up and took off after the rabbit with great passion. Soon, other dogs joined the chase, attracted by his barking. 

“The pack of dogs ran barking across creeks, up stony embankments, and through thickets and thorns. However, one by one, the other dogs dropped out of the pursuit, discouraged by the course and frustrated by the chase.” 

The young disciple was confused and asked the elder about the connection between the rabbit chase and the quest for God. The elder replied: “They did not see the rabbit. Unless you have actually seen the rabbit, the chase is just too difficult.” 

A wise dog may have other options at his disposal. When I was a child our family dog was a border-cross Collie. One day he chased a rabbit which went straight up a big hill. Skippy bounded briskly around the right side of the hill. He had a fifty-fifty chance of meeting the rabbit if it chose a turn to escape.

What about you and me? Have we seen the rabbit? Do we follow in our churches because we have encountered Jesus, or do we follow the pack that runs along with all the rest until they are tired and stop running? Check the attendance in your church Sunday morning.

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit after he ascended into heaven. The Spirit will fill us, lead us into the Truth. “The bible is the truth about the truth” (Richard Wurmbrandt – Voice of the Martyrs). 

Why do you and I continue the chase, the quest? We have seen the figurative white rabbit. 

Richard Wurmbrandt, author of "Tortured For Christ" and founder of "Voice of the Martyrs," once said, "The Bible is the truth about the Truth, it is not the Truth. Jesus is the Truth." Jesus promised to send his Spirit to lead us into all Truth, that is, Himself. 

A reader commenting on the story of the white rabbit said: “Sometimes I get so discouraged by my own “flakiness” and inconsistency – but it’s because I don’t see that rabbit…

That is why we must constantly feed our vision and our truth. Read the bible. Listen to God’s word. Seek the nourishment Jesus provides - the Word and the Eucharist. Run with the martyrs and the Saints.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,” Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7. “When we run to him, he saves us.” Psalm 37:40. “I run the way of your commandments, since you have set me free.” Psalm 119:32. 

As parents and grand parents we still need to keep running the Good Race. If our children want to run with their parents, they need to know that we are in church on Sunday morning. Our grandchildren need to know that is true of their parents.

At some point God may ask us to run on ahead and get things ready for our children. It is a good race, and everyone can win! If our lives have purpose and direction, others will want to follow us.

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