This month we are reflecting on the virtue of PERSEVERANCE. I remember when I was a young boy I loved reading Aesop’s fables. One of my favorites was The Tortoise and the Hare. You know how it goes. The tortoise and the hare have a race. As expected, the hare quickly out-runs the slow-paced tortoise. The hare gets so far ahead of the tortoise that he decides to take it easy and take a nap. Meanwhile, the tortoise is chugging along as determined as ever to finish the race and perhaps win. While the hare is napping, the tortoise passes by and takes the lead. The hare eventually woke up and soon discovered what had happened. Despite his last-minute effort to catch up, the hare lost the race, while the tortoise crossed the finish line and claimed the victory.
We can learn much from this fable. First, we can look at the hare. He was gifted with speed. He was more than capable of winning the race, but his confidence was not coupled with humility. He did not think he could lose, and this pride and vanity that he possessed ended up being his downfall. He had a gift but did not use it responsibly. He napped when he should have been running.
Then we have the tortoise. He was not built for speed, but what he lacked in physical ability, he made up for with PERSEVERANCE. The tortoise knew his chances of winning were slim to none, but he did not let that stop him. He had a goal: cross that finish line. And no matter how long that race may take him, and regardless of how far ahead the hare may out-run him, he would PERSEVERE and finish. “Quit” was not in his vocabulary. He had a “can-do” attitude. He would do the best he could with what he had. He entered the race knowing it was going to be tough, but he was willing to PERSEVERE.
Christ teaches us and shows us how to PERSEVERE, too. He came to earth with the mission of saving humanity from the snares of sin and death. He knew it would bring him great suffering to accomplish this mission. He knew he would endure this suffering with great love even while being rejected. He did not back down from this mission. He stared it down in the face. He took up his Cross. He carried it to the end. He finished the race. He calls us to do the same.
Lent is right around the corner. We will all have a 40-day mission: die to self in order to grow closer to Christ. Will we PERSEVERE? Will we commit to enduring to the end so that we can experience a glorious Easter – the way Easter was intended to be? I say “yes.” Yes, we will have the grace to PERSEVERE as long as we ask for it. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.
So whether you are a parent PERSEVERING through the ups and downs of life with children or whether you are a student PERSEVERING with school work and various activities, remember that the moral of the story is this: “Slow and steady wins the race!”
May the Lord bless you and your families as we practice the virtue of PERSEVERANCE this Lent.
Peace in Christ,
Coordinator of Religious Education