In the identify of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
Dear brothers and sisters, all through Great Lent we day by day hear at the divine providers the prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian: O Lord and Master of my life… The seventh request of this prayer accommodates a prayer to the Lord that He grant us the spirit of persistence.
Dear brothers and sisters, there’s nothing we extra usually encounter in life than misfortunes and sorrows! Sorrows accompany an individual from his very delivery to his loss of life, and there’s no one who has by no means tasted of them in his lifetime. There is not any one that may say that he’s blessed and glad with all the pieces. Either we’re worn out by illness, or grieving over the loss of a cherished one, or we’re hounded by envy and hatred, or pure disasters strike—in a phrase, human life doesn’t cross by with out sorrows and disasters.
What ought to we do amidst all these misfortunes in an effort to preserve ourselves from hurt, to not be conquered however to turn out to be conquerors? For this we have now to have persistence. It is unattainable to get round having persistence in any single misfortune, or anybody sorrow. Sorrows aren’t the factor of a minute, however to the opposite, most frequently between the starting of a catastrophe and to its finish loads of time goes by, when whether or not we prefer it or not we have now to have persistence, to bear this yoke, to hold it and endure.
The realm of persistence ought to unfold over an individual’s total life and over the complete destiny of humanity on this world. Through persistence an individual obtains good issues and is ready to preserve them, is ready to climate the vicissitudes of evil unhurt. If he loses persistence he instantly finds himself at risk of dropping these good issues, or, what’s worse, committing evil. A minute of impatience can wreak havoc on years and centuries. The holy fathers say that persistence was wanted even in paradise, the place it might appear that there was nothing to endure.
Thus, if our fore-mother Eve had had sufficient persistence to not reply the deceitful discuss of the tempter, if she had refrained, and never thrown herself rashly at the forbidden fruit, then very in all probability her sensual attraction would have been stopped, reality would have triumphed over falsehood, the sin wouldn’t have been carried out and loss of life wouldn’t have adopted. She didn’t have sufficient persistence; our fore-parents fell and introduced down the complete future race of man. In comparability to paradise, we’d like ever a lot extra persistence on earth, the place man was despatched from paradise in an effort to purchase possession of his soul by means of persistence.
If the above-mentioned grievous instance of an absence of persistence is scary to us, then allow us to consolation ourselves with different edifying examples of saving persistence and its useful results. What struggling and temptation righteous Job needed to endure! And how faithfully and generously was his persistence rewarded! What merciless and long-lasting persecutions David endured, and the way gloriously he was made worthy of honor! What numerous and sundry torments and deaths have been deliberately invented by the enemies of Christianity in an effort to shake the persistence of the Christian martyrs! And how wondrously was the energy of God made excellent of their weak spot—that calm and at occasions even painless endurance of tortures, or sudden therapeutic of wounds, that religious victory, which modified the tormentors themselves into Christians.
And how a lot and lengthy did these ascetics of piety endure, who in fasting and vigils spent the days of their austere lives! Patience cast them, and applied in them the presents of the Holy Spirit. Without persistence there isn’t any podvig, and with out podvig there are neither virtues, nor religious presents, nor salvation. In order to know easy methods to reside we have now to know easy methods to endure. The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by pressure (Matt. 11:12).
Do you need, in response to God’s commandments, to purchase excellent love, which might love even your enemies? Think about how this may be carried out. We usually encounter imperfections in different individuals, not hardly ever even vices, and generally even hatred towards us. All of this inclines us in direction of disrespect of them, to rejection of them, lastly to mutual hatred, and, effectively, not love at all. How can we purchase love for all? Here is how: If you firmly resolve and train your self to take a look at individuals’s imperfections and vices, and even their very hatred of you with persistence, then it is possible for you to to love everybody, with out in the meantime ceasing to hate the vice. This can’t be achieved with out persistence.
Do you need to purchase Christian obedience in direction of all? How can this be obtained? In is unavoidable that you’ll usually be requested to do issues that in thought, need, or private style are burdensome and onerous in your self-love to take. In order to do all this with out resistance, with out murmuring, you want persistence. Therefore when you have persistence you possibly can have obedience; however with out persistence—you possibly can’t.
In the similar method do some other virtues require depravation, labor, podvig, struggles towards the passions, needs, and temptations that aren’t all the time simply and rapidly topped with success, and thus require persistence. If your persistence wavers, neither will some other advantage stand agency. And since the acquisition of the virtues is the requirement of our complete lives, then persistence is wanted all through all our lives and even to its very finish.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, allow us to patiently endure all the pieces, the little and the nice, with religion and hope accepting all our misfortunes as deserved punishment and as God’s mercy. With persistence allow us to method the ascetic labors forward of us, ever holding our sight upon the Chief and Perfecter of our religion, Jesus; and with persistence allow us to proceed to the finish, for he that endureth to the finish shall be saved (Matt. 10:22). Amen.
From Archimandrite Kirill (Pavlov), A Time for Repentance.