Developing a Disciplined, Embodied Practice

by Mark Votava


I am realizing that I am beloved made in the image of God.  Sometimes I forget this and resort to shame, a loss of identity or self-rejection.  But I at working at practicing a creative compassion within myself that extends out into the world I live in.  I am coming to see that God has called me to become a saint, to live with purpose, passion and clarity.

This wisdom that God is working out in me is beautiful.  I am living with boundaries.  I am living with courage.  I am living as an embodied expression of love in my local community.  To dance the dance of the prisoner set free is my dream in everyday life.

  •  Living within our limitations and responsibilities

Human beings are made in the image of God to practice discipline, which means to practice living within the limitations of our bodies.  It also means living within our responsibilities by being faithfully present to others in the place we live.  If we want to live a beautiful, fruitful life we need to practice a mystical sense of discipline.

  •  Having a disciplined, embodied practice

It is essential.  There is no getting around it.  We cannot be lazy, unintentional, comfortable and apathetic anymore.  We cannot just talk about our spirituality without having a disciplined, embodied practice.

  •  Living with more courage

This will not work in our postmodern culture.  We have to live with more courage than that to have anything of beauty to offer our world.  When we see with a sense of clarity, this will help us to have courage within the mystical imagination.

  •  The purpose to become saints

One of the most influential Catholics in American history, Dorothy Day, states, “The only purpose for which we were made was to become saints…” 

  •  Called to be ordinary mystics and saints

Do we really believe that we are all called to be ordinary mystics and saints as the body of Christ in the twenty-first century?  We were made to see with that kind of clarity.  We were made to have that kind of power.

  •  Dance the dance of the prisoner set free

To dance the dance of the prisoner set free, the exile finding home, a subversion to the empire among us.  We could follow the disciples as they followed Christ.  We could enter into the stories of the people who lived for Christ by becoming a part of this beautiful narrative in history.

  •  Living into our calling as saints

We could be like one of the “sinners” Jesus hung out and ate with in the gospel stories.  There is no end to the possibilities that we could experience in our lifetime if we lived into our callings as saints.  This should be our sole passion in the parish as the body of Christ in everyday life.

Do you believe you are called to be a saint in the here and now, to live your life with courage?