I never paid much attention to the words perseverance and fidelity until I began concentrating on the spiritual life—living my faith for real. Obviously, you don't need to persevere or fight for something in which you don't have much interest. And as the devil sees this, he doesn't need to worry about finding ways to make you fall with temptations and distractions. But in the spiritual life, by your endurance you will save your soul (the Lord Himself said that— Luke 21:19).
St. Paul compares the daily fight to that of an athlete, encouraging us to push on to win the prize from on high. But unlike the athlete, we fight to win a crown that doesn't wither. In athletics, you usually know the amount of time you have left until you can rest. Drink some water, take a shower, and “leave it on the field.” In the spiritual life, you can rest, drink some water, and take a shower, but until you die, you never leave the field. Chin up young feller! Rest, water, shower: prayer, grace, sacraments. These are always at hand. And to maintain your strength, you must continually resort to them. Weariness and tiredness may—and will—come, but don't let them discourage you. Look at them as opportunities to show God that you are willing to fight for Him, at the moment when He has taken away a consolation to ask you, “How much do you love Me?”
Fidelity— being faithful in the little (or big) day-to-day things, things like getting out of bed right away each morning. Chances are, you have more opportunities to show your fidelity in the little things than in the big ones, so take advantage. Sometimes even just saying to yourself, “Perseverance... Fidelity... For You...” are just what you need to get back up. When you see just how weak you are and feel like you can't continue any longer, find consolation at the foot of the cross, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary. There, Jesus longs to give you the strength, the fortitude, to fulfill the will of His Father. Push on to win the prize from on high! At the end of a game, after receiving the trophy, how quickly you forget your exhaustion—it was all worth it. Keep fighting, persevere, the Lord rewards you in this life, but a thousand times more in the one to come.
In the fight,
Living my faith for real
- Category: Letters to a Beginner
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