What is the secret of perseveran­ce?

- Msgr. Josefino s. raMirez SUNDAY GOSPEL IN OUR LIFE

AFTeR warning His followers of the possible difficulti­es that they can expect, Jesus Christ ends the gospel reading of today by exhorting them to perseveran­ce. “Your endurance will win your lives.”

Faced with difficulti­es, we have to continue along our way to God. And we should not be surprised if perseveran­ce in the good path can prove to be arduous.

Perseveran­ce is a human virtue that forms part of the cardinal virtue of fortitude. If someone were not constant and firm, even if he had many praisewort­hy desires, he would not be able to carry them out.

But there is also a supernatur­al virtue of perseveran­ce. This refers to the desirable goal of persisting in the friendship of God, and reaching the end of our life in that state.

History is replete with examples of persons who started well, but ended up estranged from God.

In the Old Testament, we can think of the famous King Solomon. He was the greatest king of Israel and was known for his wisdom. God favored him with political success.

But toward his years of maturity, it seems that he did not persevere in his good works. He fell into idolatry, prodded on by his many pagan wives.

In the New Testament, we can think of the apostle Judas. He was

among the 12 who drank directly from the words of Jesus Christ. Yet, he ended up betraying his Great benefactor.

We can actually see treason and betrayal all around us. Those persons whom God would like to count on sometimes fail Him, perhaps, giving more importance to public opinion, or simply because they did not have the needed strength to withstand pressure.

If such worthy men were not able to persevere, how can we, weak as we are, be assured of our own perseveran­ce?

Here, we see why perseveran­ce is actually a gift of God. No one can be sure in this life of his own perseveran­ce.

Saint Paul said we have to work out our salvation “in fear and trembling.” But we can ask God for the grace of final perseveran­ce.

This means that we cannot become self-complacent and take our perseveran­ce for granted. There is a need for constant struggle and renewal. Yet, we have the assurance of victory if we rely on the goodness and mercy of God. To rely on God means to pray, to implore God’s help.

Therefore, the key to final perseveran­ce is prayer. Pray humbly and sincerely, and God will grant you the grace to endure and persevere.

Stop praying and rely on your own talents, and you will surely fall headlong into infidelity.

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