So much of the Christian life involves meaningful suffering—or at least perseverance in trying to find meaning in our personal suffering.
We know Jesus makes our suffering fruitful, at least on an intellectual level. But do we feel it in our hearts? It's easy enough to claim our allegiance in good times, to make sweeping promises and pledges of fidelity.
I think back on my wedding day, to the vows that we made to one another, unblinking and unafraid in the face of days and decades to come. This month my husband and I will celebrate a decade of marriage, we'll welcome our sixth baby, and we'll no doubt find ourselves plunged into a new season of mingled good times and bad, sickness and health.
It's easy to love when times are good; when love springs forth as an effortless expression of feeling.
More difficult? To choose love in the face of despair and pain, to bear the weight of suffering patiently and—most difficult of all—willingly.
Jesus is inviting us to precisely that in His explanation of what is to come for His followers: wars, persecution, sufferings, and even death. (See Luke 21:10-11.) He promises us that we will be hated for His sake, hated for our fidelity to Him. (See Luke 21:12.) But He also promises that in our perseverance, we will be saved.
Not in our success. Not in our victory. But in our perseverance. Let's take comfort with that promise today, sisters.
Saint Hilary offers us a pray for perseverance that can bring grace into hard times.
Jenny Uebbing is a wife, mother to six, creator of the online NFP resource community, Off the Charts, and author of the blog Mama Needs Coffee where she writes about sex, marriage, and the Catholic Church. She's a freelance writer, a speaker, and an espresso enthusiast. You can find out more about her here.