The Task & the Cross of Perseverance
A reflection by Patrick Miron
Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”
I suspect that all who receive this Lesson has been a true “saint” at least once. Perhaps for many, very much more. But is that sufficient to get me and you into heaven? No!
Matt.19:21 “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Mark.10: 2]” And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Luke.18: 22 “And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
So the questions seems to be: What does “Come and follow Me” mandate and command? …
Have you ever reflected on what this teaching means to us in the times and world in which GOD places us?
At the time, place and circumstances of that teaching, Christ was being quite literal. He was speaking to a rich by inheritance, one presumes, young SINGLE man, All though it is possible that he may have been married? In effect God was offering this guy an opportunity to become another apostle
To the best of my personal knowledge, only Peter was actually known biblically evidenced to have been married, and there is no mention of him having children. Though it is thought that because of Jewish Tradition that many; perhaps all but John, were also married and may even have had children. It was not Jewish Tradition of the time for men to remain single and celebrant. But that was a different time, place and conditions when the community would normally have stepped in to fill the needs of their families.
That so many would give up so very much to Answer God’s call is telling just how compelling, how urgent, that Godly call was. And it is not to be overlooked that Jesus, through Divine Providence would certainly have assured the Apostles that their families would be taken care of, if for no other reason than it permitted the Apostles to focus on the task at hand. … Just as compelling though is that Jesus came to share a lesson of love and servitude, and Divine Justice would have demanded such a response from our Just and Loving God. Below is a brief EWTN article you can read if interested.
… I don’t think in its application to our lives that Christ is asking, and certainly not commanding us to leave our spouses, kids and break up our families to serve Him; nor is that even necessary in our personal efforts to persevere until the end, and thus merit our reward.
Each of us will Judged in the end based on what GOD has made possible for us individually to know, to in humility accept and with enthusiasm to live and share. So Gods grading of our own degree “fellowship” and perseverance will be on a sort of sliding scale, depending on the Crosses that he has built for each of us, and then to the degree that we accept those crosses without [excessive] complaint. No complaint being the ideal goal.
What we all can know, and all of should do is pray daily for the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. … These Holy Spirit granted Gifts, are the unfailing prescription for what ails us.
They grow our humility, and meekness, and prevent us from falling spiritually ill from despair. … Further they actually strengthen us, and aid our perseverance in times of trouble.
Our God ask and expects many things from each of us, and what He ask varies greatly dependent upon our gifts, talents, abilities, and of course, our personal situations. But the girding; the very foundation of all of God’s Just Expectations is perseverance.
Sir.2: 10 “Consider the ancient generations and see: who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame? Or whoever persevered in the fear of the Lord and was forsaken?
Or whoever called upon him and was overlooked”
Jas.1: 25 “But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing”
Matt.10: 22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who perseveres to the end will be saved.”
Matt.19: 17 …. “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
Matt.24: 13 “But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
Heb.12: 7 “It is for discipline that you have to persevere. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
John.14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
John.14: 23 “Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”
Dear friends, Jesus became a “man” like us for a number of reasons; among them enabling humanity too actually [without undue fear; in Awe] know God, who choose not to reveal himself except in hidden ways in the Old Testament. … Devout Jews to this day would not even say or write the name of G__d. … Jesus came to, in Love, to demonstrate, the other face of GOD; a God of Love, kindness and Mercy, a God of concern and goodwill; Jesus came as a guide, but even more as a role-model. Not only does Jesus teach us how we can conditionally attain heaven; he actually demonstrated it for us by his lives example. And as our role-model, He Personally tells us, commands us and directs each of us to “COME FOLLOW ME.”
I began this reflection with Jesus advising the young, man to sell everything and to come and “follow me if you would be perfect” …. What is the relevance of this for us in our time, condition and place?
In a WORD; what Christ expected then and now is SACRIFICE. … We live in an age of MEISM, and few of us [myself notably include], are excluded from this experience. We have become so attuned to “THE ME”, that it very often is the first [and often defining issue for our personal decision making] that the “HOW” will such and such effect ME, is often the primary concern; even a “natural” response. And such a reality is a 100% different and opposite reflection of what Jesus modeled for each of us.
Christ always, ALWAYS, placed others needs and wants before His Own. To the degree that we are able to do likewise is the measurement of our Love and Loyalty to Christ message of our personal salvation.
I suspect that each of us have met at least one or more priest who Do model and emulate Christ in His self-giving. A GREAT many Pastors are such role models for us. So that we CAN know, that such a life is attainable. .
Isa.43: 7 “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.” &  “the people whom I formed for myself
that THEY MIGHT declare my praise”
To attain heaven we are to LOVE. We are to forgive everyone for everything. We are to share our time, talents and resources with others in greater need. We are to spread HOPE and teach, even if it’s [dare I say] “only” by our lives public-example, our Catholic Faith. Not only are we expected to carry our own Christ designer-crosses; we ARE expected to help others in their efforts to carry theirs.
In effect, we are to take Christ WORDS: “I AM the way, the Truth and the Life” as a instruction of how we are to live our lives. By our examples of SELF-GIVING for others we can give evidence and are expected to share “The Good News.”
The question before us, and not too many years ago expressed in a popular slogan is relevant today: WWJD” ….”WHAT WOULD JESUS DO/” … come FOLLOW Me.
We need to get used to asking ourselves this question so often that it effects the way we liv e and the way we LOVE.
So dear friends, what is IT that Jesus would have YOU do?
Pray very much! Life is SHORT; Eternity is FOREVER. … So PERSEVERE!
God’s continued Blessings,