Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Heroic Minute Challenge: Day 4: Jesus Lives Out the Heroic Minute

Day 4: - So far during the Heroic Minute challenge we have focused on the words of St. Josemarie Escriva who coined the phrase "Heroic Minute". He did not, however, invent the concept.  In fact, when we examine the Scriptures and the lives of the saints throughout the ages, we find that we are in very good company in attempting to live out the Heroic Minute. Jesus did too! (Minus the snooze button, of course).

St. Mark's Gospel provides us insight into Jesus' Heroic Minute: "Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mk 1:35)

What do we learn when we examine the verses which surround this account of Jesus rising early and praying?
  1. We see that Jesus led a busy life. On the evening before (St. Mark makes a point in stressing "after sunset" Mk 1:32), we read how Jesus cured many people of illnesses and set free those who were possessed by demons. It had been a long night for the Lord.  In spite of that, he still made a point to rise before dawn to spend time alone, praying. We live in a busy world - most of us can attest to late nights trying to fit in all the tasks that we are responsible for. Yet, Jesus' example demonstrates that time with God does need to come first. 
  2. A lot of people needed Jesus. In the following two verses (Mk 1:36-37), we read how "Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, 'Everyone is looking for you.'" I chuckled when I read this passage and thought of all the times when my quiet morning prayer time has been interrupted by my husband or my children. I wonder how hard it was for Jesus to break away from this peaceful time alone with his Father and attend to the needs of the people around him. I am confident that he didn't snap at them or moan and groan about never having anytime to himself. He didn't need to - by rising early enough he had already had the prayer time that he needed. 
  3. Jesus' prayer strengthened him to begin the work which lay ahead. Verse 38 tells us that Jesus responds to his followers by taking the initiative and saying "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." Jesus did not merely react to the demands Simon and company  - instead he took charge, knowing clearly what his mission was and how he was to fulfill it for the upcoming day. Likewise, when we begin our day in prayer, we too can confidently begin the work which the Lord has given to us for the day ahead. 
How is the challenge going for you?   Share your thoughts, struggles, victories and insights in the comments below...


  1. I've just started to read your posts on this challenge and I'm really glad I did. I've been doing prayer/ spiritual reading etc at night and know that I would benefit from it so much better in the morning. Do you do daily Mass as well? I get up for that and it is hard to get up earlier, especially since I am such a night owl!

    1. Hi Lucy - thanks for writing....I really struggle with daily Mass - I want to get there, but it is difficult getting the kids out the door in time. It is something my husband and I are praying about - how we can adjust our schedule to make it work for our family. How do you make it work - do you go alone or with your family?

  2. Also, how much time do you put aside to pray at the 'Heroic minute'?

    1. In the very first minute when I get out of bed - I just pray a short prayer - either "Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise." or "Thank you Lord for this day." If I head out for a morning walk first thing - I usually pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. If I stay in, I read some sort of scripture or do some spiritual reading.