My dear friends in Christ!
I have finished the race successfully with your support.
I deeply appreciate your presence and prayer which made me run to the end of the race.
The last Sunday revealed all aspects of the weather in Cleveland.
It was raining when I woke up at five o’clock in the morning. It was quite chilly, so I hesitated to wear short sleeves. But no choice; the Living Man must go. At 7am, we started running with ten thousands runners wearing the wet shoes because of raining. Nevertheless, we were not afraid of moving forward for we were together encouraging one another. After running couple of miles, it became very pleasant to run in a cool weather. With the thirteen mile sign the sun came out. The sky and the earth met together, twinkling so brightly; all runners were blessed to run on such a beautiful day. I had kept a pretty good pace under 7:30 per mile before the eighteen mile. But when I ran to the lakeshore in the point of the nineteen mile, my body became exhausted. At the same time, the wind strongly blowing against the runners made the race more difficult. I couldn’t control my body, so that I literally dragged my legs. The last four miles seemed endless. I had to give up qualifying my time within 3:15 to go to the Boston Marathon at that point. Many runners passed by me. One woman who had an artificial leg flew by me. I seemed to be lost in the downtown Cleveland, keeping reciting Hail Mary. There was nothing left: cheers from the crowd and sightseeing in the downtown disappeared, and I was only able to think moving my exhausted body forward one step by one step. Finally when I saw the finish line it seemed there was no one around, i.e., peculiar quietness. Frankly I had dreamed for a long time how to run through the finish line: raising my fists up as a sign of victory or big smiling responding to the cheering crowd. But I didn’t do anything what I had thought before. When I passed through the finish line, I was silently making a sign of cross from my mouth—I couldn’t raise my one hand to the head—to the chest and from the left shoulder to the right shoulder. I said, Amen! As if the race was a prayer, my long prayer ended with the sign of cross: the shift from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. I was moved not by I but by God and became deeply humbled in the last few miles. I stood still for a while because my soul as well as my body was overwhelmed by God’s presence in me. As St. Ireneaus said, the glory of God is not only the living man but the man who is trying to live fully.
Although my whole body is sore tonight, my heart is ready to work for the Catholic Worker in New York. I am going to leave tomorrow morning. I am very excited!
Certainly all of you will be in my prayer through my daily life.
I hope everyone has a wonderful summer.
With lots of love and gratitude
Living Man H. Paul