Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Heroic Minute Challenge: Day 3: Optimism and Perseverance

As I mentioned yesterday, my Heroic Minute was rather un-heroic.  Actually, it was a total bust. As he day wore on I found myself more and more discouraged about it. Thoughts began to enter my head that sounded something like this:
  • Why bother trying - what does it even matter whether or not you hit the snooze button?
  • Who do you think you are even attempting this challenge?
  • Just quit.
I recognize the source of those thoughts as my own insecurities fueled by adversary who likes nothing better than to condemn and discourage.

The truth is, we all have moments in our striving to be holy when we will stumble and fall.  Many moments. Many moments every single day to be more precise. The key to handling those moments is to pick oneself up, dust oneself off, ask the Lord for help and forgiveness and begin again.  Discouragement and defeat are not part of our vocabulary as Christians.

God's word reassures us that he is the God of new beginnings - and each morning when our alarm rings the Lord greets us with a fresh outpouring of his mercy and grace. In Lamentations 3:22-23 we read:  "The Lord's acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent. They are renewed each morning - great is your faithfulness."

Optimism and Perseverance
St. Josemarie Escriva's works are chock full of examples of the two attitudes that we need to demonstrate in the face of the inevitable difficulties and setbacks of life: optimism and perseverance. In one passage he unites the two themes saying: "Discouragement is an enemy of your perseverance. If you don't fight against discouragement you will become pessimistic first, and lukewarm afterwards. Be an optimist." (The Way 988)

I particularly love this exhortation: "Oh blessed perseverance of the donkey that turns the water-wheel! Always the same pace. Always the same circles. One day after another: everyday the same Without that, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, nor blossom in the orchard, nor scent of flowers in the garden.  Carry this thought to your interior life."  (The Way 998)

In giving into my discouragement over my failure to live out the Heroic Minute on Day 2 - the thought that I found hardest to shake was the one which whispered - "what's so important about getting up on time?" The reality is, like the donkey that Escriva describes, these small tasks, repeatedly done well for God's glory will ultimately lead to much good fruit in other areas of our spiritual lives.

God's mercies are new each morning and I plan to ask for them!

What about you? What setbacks in your life or in your experience of the Heroic Minute have got you down?  Share your experiences, thoughts, insights and questions in the comments below!

Missed a day? Click here to view other 14 Day Heroic Minute Entries...

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you are doing this. Somehow I missed your post on the first day and saw your post yesterday so I joined in with you. I'm doing this because it is a concrete way I can show God I love Him despite all my failures and it acts as a submission of my will to His will. I'm struggling greatly in discerning some important matters in my life, and struggling with virtues needed in other areas. This will help all those struggles. So this morning I started. I know I have a battle of my will ahead but if I remember that I want to serve God and love Him, submitting my will is the first step in the heroic minute. Sorry for writing so much here!