Perseverance

Perseverance is a virtue that helps us get something done despite difficulties.

When we begin to exercise, perseverance is vital because there is a lot of learning that isn’t easy and it takes time for the body to acclimate to new movements. Building a new habit of regular exercise, on certain days and times each week, also requires a commitment to good time management.

I admire people who have persevered in the habit of exercise over many years. It is exciting to see how physically strong they become; I especially enjoy hearing how their perseverance in exercise has helped them build positive changes in other areas of their lives. 

It’s not surprising that commitment to one healthy habit can contribute to the practice of other healthy habits, such as setting aside daily prayer and spiritual reading time. getting plenty of sleep, de-stressing and seeking life/work balance.

Perseverance is vital for a healthy spiritual life. 

We know that St. Teresa of Kolkata persevered in prayer and service to Christ, and to the body of Christ, despite years of darkness in her prayer life. We hear stories about many of our saintly brothers and sisters who persevered through spiritual and physical hardships so severe that their stories read like adventure novels. They inspire us and give us a exciting examples of spiritual and physical strength.

One of my favorite stories of perseverance from sacred Scripture is the ‘shipwrecked’ passage from St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:24-26.

“Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.”

We can pray for the grace to seize our St. Paul moments with hope and trust. Difficulties can shape and sharpen us when we look at them in light of Christ’s love and sacrifice for us. Offering up our difficulties for the greater good, or for the good of someone we love, is a beautiful way to persevere through a hardship or challenge, no matter how severe.

May we aspire for the perseverance of St. Paul, 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

Humility and Confidence

St. Teresa of Calcutta is the epitome of humility and confidence to be His hands and feet in the world..

St. Teresa of Calcutta is the epitome of humility and confidence to be His hands and feet in the world..

I begin this column asking the Holy Spirit to guide me; the topic of humility and confidence is currently on my heart, so I will share my thoughts with you.

We might view humility and confidence as opposites, but when we look at this through the eyes of faith, we see they work beautifully together in our lives of service to others.

By remaining close to Jesus in prayer, receiving the Sacraments, and asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are reminded that our gifts and talents, and even our desire to serve others, flows from our relationship with Jesus. All that we have is meant to be shared. We know that it takes great humility to live this authentically.

If we are rooted in humility, we can move forward in confidence doing His will. He needs us to be bold to be His hands and feet in the world—each in our unique way.

Sometimes His plans for us are not clear, so we discern the best we can and move forward with small steps. Acting with humility means we are willing to try, accept failure, adjust, and keep right on going!

I think about St. Paul’s confidence in Christ that resulted in him being shipwrecked, stoned, imprisoned, exiled, flogged, starved, nearly drowned, robbed, slandered and stripped. Yet he persevered, with confidence, in his mission to share the word of God with as many people as possible.

St. Paul’s humility in Philippians 2:3–5 is a beautiful reminder for all of us.

Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others. Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus.

How do we know if we are acting with humility and confidence in our daily lives? If we are feeling peace and joy that is good sign. We may see positive fruits from our labors. We might know through prayer or through the words of those whom we serve.

Jesus needs us to serve with both humility and confidence, in our homes, churches, businesses and communities. Are you ready to answer His call to you?