Persevering In Love
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
Once again, St. Paul hits the nail right on the head. If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. (2 Timothy 2:11b-12a) Whether St. Paul uses his familiar images of an athletic contest or his equally familiar images of giving birth, there is no doubt that he understood the "problem" of suffering in this world. He had gone through his own struggles and had found Jesus in them. As we know from history, he also suffered death for the sake of his faith, following in the footsteps of his Savior, Jesus.
Perseverance is one of those virtues that is cherished by many and it applies to so many of life's venues. When it is applied to the issue of human relationships, we realize that it is also something that is missing in so many people's lives. The Gospel presents us with the two "greatest" commandments; namely, love God and love your neighbor. Unfortunately, it is in the arena of love that we find perseverance is often lacking. Obviously, it is something of an oxymoron to phrase the notion of love in the form of a command. An older priest once said to me that it is impossible to teach someone to love God. Love is a response. The response demands 100% of our devotion. I sometimes hear people say that marriage is a 50-50 proposition. Actually it demands 100% from both parties. The same is true of any commitment. We will only realize the rewards of perseverance, whether that be in our relationship with God or with another human being, if we give it our all – with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.