Wednesday, November 27, 2013

“Learn to labor and to wait.”

They attack the one man with their hate and their shower of weapons. But he is like some rock which stretches into the vast sea and which, exposed to the fury of the winds and beaten against by the waves, endures all the violence. - Virgil (70 - 19 BC)

Gospel Text: (LK 21:12-19)
Jesus said to the crowd:
“They will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents,
brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

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 hardships with joy.

I have observed in my life that age and good educations do not guarantee that wisdom will follow. More years on earth may mean more clutter in the soul. We have seen plenty of things rise and fall. We have heard the calls for change before. We call our cynicism wise: there is nothing new in history.

Yet, seen more closely, this world is a surprising place. Pope Francis disrupts our complacency with his striking moves towards those at the margins. In many places, the cry for justice persists despite crushing obstacles in the way. The powerful stumble toward peace talks as a last resort. Like Daniel (Daniel: 5), people draw strength from what is more real and true than the fraud that surrounds them.

A society that does not listen to God and draw strength from the grace offered to us through prayer and the Sacraments, too, may find its days are numbered.

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