Conversion is a turning into the right road; the next thing is to walk in it. The daily going on in that road is as essential as the first starting if you would reach the desired end. To strike the first blow is not all the battle; to him that overcometh the crown is promised. To start in the race is nothing, many have done that who have failed; but to hold out till you reach the winning post is the great point of the matter. Perseverance is as necessary to a man’s salvation as conversion.
(Is 50:4-9a) The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?
These words from Isaiah are a timely reminder to be true to ourselves during this Lenten season, always yearning to reform ourselves in Christ’s image, never giving up on God and his saving grace. No matter what obstacles we face, we cannot forget to create a moment of calm in order to check with Christ, our compass. He was betrayed by one friend and abandoned by others. It is difficult to imagine a deeper pain. Yet, he never lashed out, never condemned them for their failure.
As difficult as it is, we must strive to be the same. It starts with staying true to oneself, holding firm to the one deeply fundamental belief that we hold dear. Namely, that love can overpower the pains of the world, those we face personally and those we share.
Christ is the living testimonial to the power of love. May God grant us the grace to be like his son, able to “give and not count the cost, fight and not heed the wounds, toil and not seek for rest, labor without asking for reward, save that of knowing that we do his will.” (from the Ignatian prayer for generosity)
“Do not look for Jesus away from yourselves. He is not out there; He is in you. Keep your lamp burning, and you will recognize Him.” – Mother Teresa