"I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same. "
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Gospel Text: (JN 16:29-33)
The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
Overcome by fear, the apostles did not have the strength to face the Passion and Death of Christ. Instead, they ran away due to the fact that they lacked the virtue of fortitude. We can understand their reaction. How many times have we run away from God when we have faced moments of trial, suffering or hardship? Isn't it our tendency to turn inward in a futile act of self-preservation?
"Fortitude," the Catechism teaches us, "is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good" (CCC, no. 1808). At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed that the apostles would be strengthened in this virtue that they would need in order to face the trials ahead. Christian fortitude is rooted in the confidence we have in the power of God to save us. A power that has "overcome the world."
To grow in fortitude one must develop the habit of living with confidence in God's saving power. This will not make our problems go away, but it will give us the wisdom to see them in a new light; as something to be borne and offered for the glory of God. Above all, the virtue of fortitude reinforces within us the conviction that we are on God's side and that He is on ours. And "if God is for us, who can be against?" (Romans 8:31).
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things . Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices. -- St. Teresa of Avila