After being beaten unconscious, dragged out of the town of Lystra, and left for dead, St. Paul regained consciousness and went back into Lystra (Acts 14:19-20). Paul was fearless, unstoppable, and persevering. After leaving Lystra, he soon returned to reassure the disciples and encourage "them to persevere in the faith" (Acts 14:22). Paul had credibility when he talked about perseverance. He had cuts, wounds, and bruises, which were the price of perseverance.
Paul proclaimed: "I put no value on my life if only I can finish my race and complete the service to which I have been assigned by the Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:24). From prison, Paul wrote: "My entire attention is on the finish line as I run toward the prize to which God calls me — life on high in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14). When he spoke of his imminent death, Paul asserted: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tm 4:7).
Paul and all Christians are so intent on persevering in the Faith, their vocations, and their commitments because Jesus persevered when He put His "hand to the plow" (see Lk 9:62) and "set His face" toward Jerusalem (Lk 9:51, RSV-CE) and toward Calvary. Jesus promised: "Whoever holds out till the end will escape death," that is, the second death of damnation (Mt 10:22).
We have the miracle of perseverance not by our power but by the Holy Spirit, Who confirms us to persevere under the worst of circumstances. Pray and suffer in the Holy Spirit to receive the grace of perseverance.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 21, 2014.