Paul writes with his death nearing on the horizon …“Not that I have secured my final glory, nor have yet reached my goal, but I am still pressing on in an quest to take hold of the prize for which Christ first took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not reckon myself as having taken hold of it; I can only say that forgetting all that lies behind me, I am running toward that which lies ahead of me, pressing forward toward the finishing line to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. So this is the way in which all of us who are mature should be thinking… let us press on from the point we have each attained.” – Philippians 3:12-15a, 16
Brother Anselm, now in his nineties, takes his daily walk. He walks rather slowly, partly for reason of his ninety-two years, partly for reason of his contemplative spirit. His daily journey is not a long one, but long enough to be considered a worthy journey: down the road, past the woods, along the stream, then up the gentle hill where at the top he stops to read his Psalms and to spend some time in personal prayer. And when this holy time has reached its fullness, Brother Anselm rises to his feet and makes his journey home. His cane in hand; his grey cap of Worsted wool, this time of year, his brown, winter coat, Brother Anselm makes his daily pilgrimage. Yes, Brother Anselm, even with his many years and his cranky arthritis, keeps pressing on. He keeps pressing on, not only in his daily hike to the distant hill but also in a lifelong journey to a higher place. And Brother Anselm teaches me, he inspires me, and, in a certain way, he helps me to my feet.
Like Paul, the life of Christian discipleship is a lifetime of pressing on. As disciples of the Lord and ministers of His grace, we are on journey that goes on and on, goes to and then on beyond the horizon where mortal things do end. Because of the immortality that has come alive in us in Christ, we are on a never-ending journey that is measured by an eternal quality of time. We are not Christian disciples for a weekend or for awhile, for a few years … we are Christian disciples forever. So wherever we are in our forever journey, we press on.
Pressing on is not always an easy thing to do … in fact, sometimes it feels near impossible to do…. We grow weary; we grow frustrated; we grow weakened and we grow weathered and worn. Life is filled with momentary sighs, those fateful moments when we consider sitting down and giving up the Quest. But because of the spirit of Christ within us, that divine urging that comes upon us, we somehow find the strength of will … to keep pressing on. We struggle to our feet … sometimes with the help of a cane or a fellow pilgrim…then we lift our eyes to the distant hills … and we begin again on the next mile of the journey. And it is in that always beginning again that we come upon the wonders that always are waiting for us just down the way.
So, my Loved Ones, folks like Paul and Brother Anselm, folks like me and you … we always … keep pressing on.
Brother Anthony of the Cross