“The Franciscan Virtue of Poverty means doing with as little as you need and keeping things simple. It also means being able to relinquish with an open hand whatever anyone wants or takes away. Those who have a spirit of poverty deal more patiently with loss, because they know that what they owned wasn’t really theirs in the first place–everything is a gift from God.”
-Franciscan Virtues Throughout the Year, 117
All of us to some greater or lesser degree have challenges that seem monstrous, overpowering; these are pains and hurts that may have occurred in the past, may have hooks and chains in our skin, and these challenges are very real. These hurts can often be stumbling blocks, and many times, end up being walls in our way rather than stones on the pathway.
Those of us in the Franciscan community are aware of a story about how Saint Francis, upon visiting a town plagued by a vicious wolf, befriended the animal and by doing so changed the beasts temperament from a viciousness to a protective nature towards the people of the town. The wolf became such a friend to the townspeople that they would feed and care for it. Upon it’s death, the creature was buried as a beloved neighbour.
Each of us have wolves in our lives. These wolves are thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, principles that spark us to anger, to hate, to frustration, to grief, to sadness. They put their hooks into our flesh and hold us back. Many of us collect these, hold them as treasured possessions. Grudges and resentments are saved with more favour than money by many people. But they don’t move us forward. Instead, they keep us from persevering and growing.
When we are able to set the wolves free, we find that our attitudes can change more readily. While there may still be disappointment and challenge that we’d rather not deal with, suddenly the anxiety around it seems not as powerful.
Perseverance, like courage, occurs subtly over time and if often noticed by others before we notice it ourselves.
Right now, our mission in Cameroon is facing one of it’s greatest challenges ever. There is a very real chance that the home in which the mission and orphanage is housed will no longer be available because Msg. Joseph is unable to upkeep the costs of the rent. And yet, I believe, he still reads Mass, still tries to find food for the children, still tries to provide a safe home for them, trusting.
Many of us in our community would like to be able to help Msg. Joseph financially, but we are unable. We persevere in our prayers and hopes for the mission there, and in our thoughts for Msg. Joseph that he is able to find both benefactors and meaningful employment. Should you want to help with a one time donation or monthly contribution, click here and then click the donate button on the top left hand corner of the page.
One thought on “Perseverance”
Dear Friar Pete, Thank you for this. The grace of perseverance is one we should pray for daily; it is a crucial aspect of our vocations.