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Thursday, June 9, 2005

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St. Ephrem

2 Corinthians 3:15—4:1, 3-6
Psalm 85
Matthew 5:20-26

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reject discouragement

"Because we possess this ministry through God's mercy, we do not give in to discouragement." —2 Corinthians 4:1

Notice that in the above passage St. Paul does not say that we will never be tempted to be discouraged. We who work for the Lord are continually bombarded with many circumstances which push us toward discouragement (see Sir 2:1). What St. Paul does say is that "we do not give in to" these temptations to discouragement.

God has no need of ministers of His word. He is able to bring conversion through His own direct action (see e.g. Acts 9:3ff). However, "through God's mercy" (2 Cor 4:1), He has called us to share in the glorious task of spreading His word. Therefore, no matter how little help we have or how fierce the opposition is, we must always be humbly grateful that He has called us. We cannot allow ourselves to give in to discouragement. God plus us is always a majority. We are never outnumbered (see 2 Kgs 6:16). His strength is always sufficient in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9-10). In Him Who is the Source of our strength, we have strength for everything (Phil 4:13). Therefore, "be steady and self-possessed; put up with hardship, perform your work as an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Tm 4:5).

Prayer:  Father, how merciful You are to allow me to serve You, the omnipotent and almighty One. Renew me in Your love.

Promise:  "Near indeed is His salvation to those who fear Him, glory dwelling in our land." —Ps 85:10

Praise:  St. Ephrem did not let discouragement overtake him. At age sixty-six, a year before his death, he was still hard at work organizing works of charity to feed victims of famine.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.) (For a related teaching, order our tape Is Your Church Depressed? on audio AV 116-1 or video V-116.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004

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