St. Bernard once said, “To beginners a reward is promised, but to him who perseveres it is given.”
God often guarantees success at the onset of a noble enterprise only to permit circumstances to seemingly undermine that success. He does this for two reasons:
First, to test the genuineness of your faith. It is easy to have faith in God when circumstances are to your liking. However, faith can only be tested by its opposite, namely, when things look doubtful.
Second, trials are given to us in order that the virtue of humility fostered in us. For without humility, we cannot entirely depend upon Divine Providence. Few are those who take Christ words literally: “For without me, you can do nothing.”
Through perseverance, therefore, the presence of Christ within our souls becomes more real to us, more trustworthy, than what unfavorable conditions in the outside world might suggest. Perhaps this is why St. John the Evangelist said, “Whoever is begotten by God conquers the world.”
Catholics who frequent the altar mystically participate in the greatest demonstration of perseverance that the world has ever known. From Holy Thursday to Good Friday our Lord not only persevered through his Passion, but by instituting the Last Supper into a perpetual Sacrifice and Eucharistic meal, he also allowed his followers to draw upon the strength of his perseverance.
His strength is a gift to us. We just have to use it so that the interior peace and joy-which is a foretaste of heaven -can reside in the soul even as difficulties mount.