From the Pastor – July 24, 2022

“And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Lk 11:9-10)

per·se·ver·ance?[pur-suhveeruhns] –noun

1.steady persistence in a course of action, a pur-pose, a state,etc., esp. in spite of diffic-ulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

2.Theology . continuance in a state of grace  to the end,leading to eternal salvation.

Anything that’s worth doing requires perseverance.  The Latin verb “perseverare” is  composed of two words: “per” meaning “through”; and “severare” meaning “to be severe or strict.”  So perseverance means to achieve something through being strict.  And the obvious object of the strictness is oneself.  Prayer requires perseverance.  It is an uphill climb supported by God’s grace, but we need to persevere in prayer for it to be effective.

I know in my own life that there have been things for which I prayed only for a short time and the prayer was granted.  On the other hand, I once prayed for 17 years for something before it was granted. I’ve been praying for something else for 20 years, and it still hasn’t been granted.  Do I give up?  Obviously, I’m a hard-headed Irishman, and I keep praying and praying.

“But why would you pray for something for so long?  Couldn’t you accept that the answer is ‘no’?”

Apparently, I don’t.  If what I am praying for is a “good thing” (no, I haven’t prayed for that long to win the lottery!), then I will continue to persevere.

It’s interesting that the second definition of “perseverance” is a theological definition.  And that makes sense.  Because Jesus said: “He that shall persevere to the end shall be saved.” (Mt. 24:13).  The Christian life isn’t a sprint; it’s an ultra-marathon.  We “persevere” through it in spite of difficulties, obstacles or disappointments.  And we discipline ourselves (through + severity) by our penitential practices – means by which we deny ourselves things of the world so that we might focus on the things of Heaven.

Perseverance.  It’s a really great word.  We recognize it as a virtue in all good endeavors.  This weekend, the Archbishop has asked us to pray especially for peace in our world.  May it begin with us.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty