Friday, January 13, 2012

Rosary Workout

For some people exercise is their religion. But what if you could combine physical and spiritual fitness in one program?

Author Peggy Bowes, a devout Catholic, has the answer. Through her book, "The Rosary Workout," you can discover how to pray and exercise at the same time.

I was completely unaware of this Rosary-exercise combo until I happened to hear Peggy on the radio while dialing through the shortwave band. EWTN, the Eternal Word Television Network, has a SW radio outlet. EWTN is a cable TV channel started up by a nun in the 1980s to reach the masses to draw them to the masses (and the collective collection plate). Peggy was a guest on the program, "Blessed 2 Play," described as "spiritual sports radio."

For those of you unaware of the Rosary, it is a set of prayer beads that loops back on itself, a circle with one row hanging from the bottom with a small crucifix. Think of a large O with a tail. The prayer holds a bead between thumb and forefinger, each bead representing a prayer that has to be said in proper sequence.

The saying of the Rosary can taken some time, especially if the person is meditating on the spiritual aspect of the rite which is supposed to be the whole point of the rite. But with practice it can be over fairly quickly. One time I attended a funeral and the priest sped along as he lead everyone in prayer. His rate of utterance was close to what you hear on TV or radio when the ad announcer races through all the disclaimers, twenty-seconds-worth of words said in less than five. I'm not judging that priest; maybe he was running late and had another funeral to attend or a bad bladder.

At there's this review of "The Rosary Workout:"

Kneel. Stand. Sit. Stand. Kneel again. "Catholic calisthenetics" is no longer just for church! The Rosary Workout is the real thing: exercise science and authentic Catholic teachings combined to strengthen body and soul and deepen your awareness of God's presence in every facet of your life.

I find this concept of saying the Rosary to regulate exercise a bit disconcerting. I was raised by parents devoted to the Roman Catholic Church. The Rosary was a sacred rite not to be mixed with ordinary secular activities. It was to be used for times of deep meditation or special intervention.

For example, a family needed a miracle: one member was in the hospital, dying from a terminal illness. The rest of the family knelt together in the living room of their home and prayed the entire Rosary, beseeching through the Blessed Virgin Mary for Godly grace.

But to go to the gym and work out on a treadmill while saying the Rosary, getting sweaty while toning your sexy bod? OK, that's not as extreme as an adulterer saying penance while copulating with his mistress but...

For a long time I've been a "lapsed Catholic" (AKA devout atheist). So I'm not upset by this new trend to tap into the yuppie need for a trim body. I just find it strange. Go back five decades in Catholic time and such a proposal would be considered heresy.

But times have changed. During the interview Peggy said her husband wasn't Catholic. In the dark ages that wouldn't have flown. Back in the 1970s you could read in a textbook for Catholic high school students that Catholics should only marry other others of the One True Faith. No unions with non-Catholics. The person of the "lesser faith" had to convert to Catholicism.

So with faith mixing comes exercise-Rosary mixing. But this isn't surprising, considering the severe financial hit the Roman Catholic Church has taken from being on the losing end of lawsuits involving pedophile priests. Of course, the church was reprehensible, covering up the misdeeds of child molesting priests while moving them to another parishes where the priests could easily sin again (and did).

Listening to Peggy Bowes on the radio, she sounds like a very pleasant lady who sincerely believes that her program can benefit everyone, even non-Catholics. Praying the Rosary, she stated, attracts the presence of good angels while driving away the bad ones (demons).

Angels are an important aspect. She wanted to use the concept of nine choirs of angels for her exercise program but in her research she found that some expressed doubts whether it was biblical. Then one day during a beautiful sunset she saw a sign: nine mini-clouds in the sky.

Me, the last few wintry days around here have been generally overcast, dark and depressing. I take that as another sign there is no God.


Marvin the Martian said...

I wish more crazy people were calm and nice like she is.

Doug said...

For many, exercising at all is a miracles. It's only a matter of time until they replace pews in churches with rows of gym equipment.

They're both places where people go because they feel like they should but don't really want to.

X. Dell said...

So, you'll be back at Mass by the spring thaw?

I had a student, a standup comedian, who had this routine about Gospel aerobics. Repetitiously throwing one's hands in the air while yelling "Praise Jesus" did sound funny at the time. Little would I realize that someone would try to do something similar.