A Hike with Mom

Guest Blog Post by Father Justin Braun

Father Justin Braun is a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. He is currently the Pastor of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Texarkana, TX, and the Chaplain for the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization which develops content and curriculums for church programs and leaders. Father Braun has worked in many different ministry positions across the state of Texas including vocation director for the Diocese of Tyler, parish work, and high school and college ministry. He is also an avid hiker and outdoorsman, a wonderful uncle, and a great friend! 

A Hike with Mom

When you walk outside, maybe between your office or house and your car, rarely do you consider your surroundings, except for maybe whether or not it is raining. When you go outside to run a few miles, you check your weather app, make sure you are equipped, and go about your business. However, when you set out for a good hike, whether trail hiking or mountain hiking, you put a lot more time into your preparation. Why? Because if you don’t, you could die. 

When you pray, you often do so mindlessly, maybe recite a few rote prayers, and then go about your business. When you are a little more intentional, you may read a passage of scripture or meditate on an image, but again, go about your business shortly thereafter. However, when you pray a rosary, you do your best to turn off the distractions (even if you are praying in your car!), get to a physical or at least mental space where things are clearer, and get down to business. Why? Because if you don’t, you’ll have spent 15-20 minutes of your already packed schedule doing something fruitless. 

The month of October is the month of the Holy Rosary in our Catholic faith, a month where we devotionally attempt to draw nearer to Our Lord by intentionally going to Our Lady. For many young people, devotion to Our Lady, especially the Holy Rosary, is seen as an “old lady’s devotion” though you’ll just as often see men, especially men serious about their faith, clutching their beads with great fervor. Why? Because the Holy Rosary is one of the most powerful ways to grow nearer to Our Lord, and to better understand the privileged role Mary has in our sanctification. 

Remember, were it not for Mary and her story-telling, we would have no idea what the childhood of Jesus was like. The Gospels of Luke and Matthew give us the most important details of Jesus’ early life, and they could have only been known to the sacred authors because Mary had revealed those details. Luke 2:19 reminds us that “she pondered these things in her heart.” This descriptive detail is important, because it totally reveals the “method” of prayer that the Rosary is: meditation on the person of Jesus Christ! 

So why the title “A Hike with Mom”? Two things: one, praying a meaningful and meditative rosary is not easy work, and it takes some planning like a good hike; two, because praying the Rosary is like taking a walk with the Blessed Mother and understanding her Son through Her eyes. Some of my favorite memories are Rosary walks at the seminary, before abortion mills and Planned Parenthood, and in the Colorado mountains while peaking a 14er. Wherever you find yourself praying the Rosary, remember, this is what Mary did her entire life: pondered the things of God in her heart! 

Pictured: Father Braun with his friend and godson, hiking at Mts. Democrat/Cameron/Lincoln, Colorado.  

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