Jesus said to his disciples, «People will lay their hands on you and persecute you; you will be delivered to the Jewish courts and put in prison, and for my sake you will be brought before kings and governors. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. So keep this in mind: do not worry in advance about what to answer, for I will give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, and brothers, by relatives and friends, and some of you will be put to death. But even though you are hated by all for my name's sake, not a hair of your head will perish. Through perseverance you will possess your own selves».
Jesus helps us to understand our humanity and orient us to evolve from our fragility towards divine protection. We are all weak and fall easily victim to the world temptations, and in our limitedness, we give lots of importance to human desires and will. It is here Jesus comes towards us to assure that if we learn to put all our trust in the Lord, we can withstand any calamities and persecutions. It is quite possible that we may be hated even by our dear and near ones. Once our faith in the Lord remains intact, then the rest falls apart.
The perseverance is the fruit of our certitude and the certitude is the fruit of our capacity to discover the truth and the truth leads us towards faith, Faith in the goodness of the Lord. This discovery of the divine goodness helps us to understand what God has done to us, through the death and resurrection of the Lord. It is the foundation of all sort of perseverance. The perseverance is not simply our merit and effort, but a gift of divine revelation. We come to know this truth (the gift of God), because God has desired to reveal this to us.
Action of the day: Be faithful
«Through perseverance you will possess your own selves»
Fr. Manuel COCIÑA Abella
Today, we pay attention to this short but sharp sentence of our Lord, which sticks into our soul and makes us wonder: why perseverance is so important? why does Jesus tell us our salvation depends upon the exercise of this virtue?
Because the disciple is no more than his Master —«you will be hated by all for my name's sake» (Lk 21:17)—, and if the Lord was a sign of contradiction, we, his disciples, must necessarily be one too. The belligerents will get hold of the Kingdom of God, those who fight against the enemies of the soul, those who energetically combat, as St. Josemaria Escriva liked to say, “this most beautiful war of peace and love”, which Christian life consists of. All roses have thorns, and the way to Heaven is not without difficulties and obstacles. This is why, without the cardinal virtue of fortitude, our good intentions would turn out unfruitful. And perseverance is part of fortitude. Perseverance, concretely, drives us to the strength we need to carry our contradictions with joy.
Perseverance, in its maximum degree, is accomplished at the Cross. This is why, perseverance confers freedom by granting the possession of oneself through love. Christ's promise is indefectible: «Through perseverance you will possess your own selves!» (Lk 21:19), and this is so because what is saving us is the Cross. It is the strength of love that gives each one of us the patient and joyous acceptance of God's will, when, in a first moment, it upsets —as it happens at the Cross— our poor human will.
Only in a first moment, because afterwards, the overflowing energy of perseverance is liberated to help us understand the difficult science of the Cross. This is why, perseverance engenders patience, which goes much beyond simple resignation. Even more so. It has nothing to do with stoical attitudes. Patience decisively contributes to understand that the Cross is, well before pain, essentially love.
Our Mother in Heaven, who understood better than anyone else this saving truth, will help us understanding it too.