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Endure, persevere with faith and hope

Given the fact that we have already been warned by Christ that the world will end badly and that in our life, we will always have some trouble, (cfr. Lk 21,12-19) we should be properly prepared for this condition in our life by learning how to suffer with faith, hope and optimism, how to endure and persevere in the drama of our life.

We have to remember that if Christ could not help but had to offer his life to save us, how can we think that our life and the world in general would take a different path? Remember Christ telling his disciples, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (Jn 15,20) But let’s always keep in mind his assurance, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16,33)

Let’s just have to learn how to suffer, always with Christ, that is, with faith, hope and optimism, convinced that all these troubles will always be for the good. It would also help a lot if we maintain a sporting spirit in life with a good and healthy sense of humor.

To be sure, we can manage to find joy in suffering only if we identify ourselves with Christ. With Christ, suffering becomes an act of selfless love that can take on anything. Only in him can we find joy and meaning in suffering. With him, suffering loses its purely negative and painful character, and assumes the happy salvific character.

We need to process this truth of our faith thoroughly, always asking for God’s grace and training all our powers and faculties to adapt to this reality. That’s why Christ told us clearly that if we want to follow him, we simply have to deny ourselves, carry the cross and follow him. There’s no other formula, given our wounded human condition.

This self-denial and carrying of Christ’s cross will enable us to see that suffering is obviously the consequence of all our sins—ours and those of others. Embracing suffering the way Christ embraced his cross unites our suffering with that of Christ.

For us to have this conviction, we really need to deepen and strengthen our faith which will lead us to have an unwavering hope that despite whatever, everything would just turn out right.

With faith and hope, we can manage to endure anything and to persevere, because as St. Paul told us once: “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phil 1,6)

The Pauline words somehow tell us that the secret of perseverance is our strong faith in God, in his omnipotent and merciful providence that can always make do with whatever situation we may find ourselves in any given moment.

We have to see to it that we keep that faith alive and burning. And to make that faith vibrant, we need to keep ourselves always in love. It’s love that keeps our faith going. It should be a love that goes beyond good intentions, sweet words and nice feelings. It has to be expressed in deeds.

One clear manifestation of an operative love that nourishes our faith that in turn enables us to persevere and to be faithful to the end is the practice of a daily examination of conscience. Such practice will help us to be always vigilant and properly focused and directed.*

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