Central Idea: Perseverance in the Faith. Doctrine: Perseverance, supernatural perseverance, and Final Perseverance. Practical Application: Living perseverance.
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Central Idea: Perseverance in the faith
- As long as we persevere in fighting our evil tendencies, we will win, but like Moses we need help: a rock to rest on and companions to hold up our tired arms. Our help is the Church and her Sacraments, our guardian angel, and our good companions on earth and in the Communion of Saints. Ex 17:8-13
- As long as we remain in the friendship of God, no real harm can come to us. Do we believe and trust in this truth? Ps 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
- To be faithful to the Gospel, we need light, and we find it in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church. The thing we need most of all is to persevere in working out our salvation. This includes doing apostolate. 2 Tm 3:14-4:2
- God has already won for us every good thing, securely possessed, forever. But because we cannot see the justice God has actually done for us yet, we must persevere until the end. Lk 18:1-8
Doctrine: Perseverance, supernatural perseverance, and Final Perseverance
- The natural virtue of perseverance makes us constant, reliable, and steadfast. The widow’s goal was a just ruling; Her obstacle was the judge’s injustice; Perseverance in asking was her means of overcoming that obstacle and achieving her just ruling.
- The supernatural virtue of perseverance is our life-long struggle to hold on to the Faith and advance in the transformation God wants us to undergo, made possible by the grace he gives us. Our goal is to be prepared for our meeting with Christ our King. The obstacle is the difficulty of remaining faithful. The means is keeping doing the right thing whether the way is easy or hard.
- Final Perseverance is the grace from God, and our effort in response, to remain faithful to God at the end of our lives. We should pray for Final Perseverance and never presume that we will be okay no matter what we do.
Practical Application: Living perseverance
- The natural virtue of perseverance is easy to understand but hard to live. Set a good goal. Then, identify the obstacles that stand between you and the achievement of that goal. Find ways to get over, around, under, or through those obstacles. Then go about applying those strategies over time.
- To live the supernatural virtue of perseverance in the Faith, we need constant injections of grace through the cleansing medicine of Confession and the food of eternal life of the Eucharist. A good practical rule is Saturday Confession and Sunday Communion. We also need the light of Divine Revelation so we need to read the Gospels and good spiritual books, including the Catechism. Finally, we need to keep acting in accord with our Faith—even though our moods and circumstances keep changing.
- To achieve Final Perseverance, which is a gift from God we can refuse, we should keep asking for it, even when young. One way we do this is by praying for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the Hail Mary we ask, “Pray for us sinners . . . at the hour of our death.” From time to time it is healthy to consider our own inevitable death. We can also encourage our own faithfulness by praying for those we know who have died, that they received this gift and accepted it.