- Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons - http://ericsammons.com/blog -
Perseverance unpacks the power of prayer
Posted By Eric Sammons On October 15, 2010 @ 9:13 am In Saints,Spirituality,Who is Jesus Christ? | Comments Disabled
Today is the feast of St. Theresa of Avila, the great doctor of prayer. If you are serious about prayer – and you can’t be a Christian without being serious about prayer – and you don’t know where to start, then I recommend to you her classic work The Way of Perfection . This simple book emphasizes the importance of prayer and that perseverance is the most important virtue when it comes to prayer. She writes,
Those who want to journey on this road and continue until they reach the end, which is to drink from this water of life…they must have a great and very resolute determination to persevere until reaching the end, come what may, happen what may, whatever work is involved, whatever criticism arises, whether they arrive or whether they die on the road, or even if they don’t have courage for the trials that are met, or if the whole world collapses. (The Way of Perfection 21.2)
Commenting on this passage in my book Who is Jesus Christ? Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew , I wrote,
Perseverance is a prerequisite for being a Christian; without it, we become like the seed that cannot take root in the soil (cf. Mt 13:1-8). Instead, we must strive to plant ourselves deep in the soil of the Word of God, gaining strength to withstand temptation, persecution, and tribulation; and not only to withstand them, but to grow a “hundredfold” in the faith.
The model of perseverance is Jesus, who from the beginning knew the mission of his Father and would not be deterred from it: neither the flattery of the crowds, nor the pressure from his own disciples, nor the threats from the religious and political leaders could change his course. He persevered through every hardship and temptation. It’s a mistake, however, to believe that following the Father was easy for Christ because he was the divine Son of God. The agony Jesus experienced in Gethsemane (cf. Mt 26:36-46) puts to rest any thought that accomplishing the Father’s will was not a struggle for him; it is no less a struggle for each Christian to fulfill the Father’s will for their lives.
The perseverance needed during great trials is born of forbearance in everyday hardships. “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23 emphasis added). Every day, we can experience martyrdom through all the slight instances of suffering each day brings: enduring the small offenses of others, denying our personal desires for the sake of the good of family or friends, and serving others in small daily, perhaps unseen, tasks. These actions, the fruit of a persistent life of prayer and devotion, are what make possible the ability to stand strong in the face of overwhelming opposition.
“You have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much” (Mt 25:21), Christ said to the man with five talents. By dying to self in small, everyday affairs, we gain strength to die to self in times of great persecution and strife. When everyone else preaches conformity to the world and its passions, the Christian continues to be founded on the Word of God, Jesus Christ. When worn down by the temptations of this world, we who desire to be saints must turn to Christ and ask for a share in the perseverance the Lord had in following the Father’s will.
If you don’t pray regularly, start today! And persevere!
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/10/15/perseverance-unpacks-the-power-of-prayer/
URLs in this post:
 The Way of Perfection: http://www.amazon.com/Way-Perfection-St-Teresa-Avila/dp/1602062609/
 Who is Jesus Christ? Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew: http://ericsammons.com/book.html
 subscribe to my RSS feed: http://ericsammons.com/blog/feed/
Copyright © 2010 Divine Life - A Blog by Eric Sammons. All rights reserved.