Stick-to-it-iveness in a Teflon World

Posted January 20, 2008

Stick-to-it-iveness in a Teflon World

Every culture has its own particular gestures for specific meanings-some of which may seem strange to us. But one of the few body language gestures that anthropologists recognize as being common to all nationalities and tribes on earth is the tossing upward of the hands as an expression of frustration. It’s a sign of letting go, giving up-a ”what’s-the-use?” sort of gesture.

While globally common to all cultures, this simple shrug of defeat is never used by persons with an ironjaw character who are always determined to persevere against all odds.

Authentic perseverance is a virtue, not to be confused with stubbornness, which is merely unreasonable intransigence. “Do not harden your hearts,” God’s word advises (see Hebrews 3:8,15). George Santayana observed that: “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he loses sight of his goal.” Christian (God-focused) perseverance is a derivative of the virtue of fortitude, and will be especially important for the end times. “He who stands firm to the end will be saved,” Jesus reminds us in all the synoptic gospels. “By standing firm you will gain life” (Lk 21:19).

Let us practice perseverance in all its forms: in faith (Col 1:23), in confidence (Heb 3:6, 14), in doctrine (2 Thes 2:15), in unity (Phil 1:27), in tribulation (Rom 12:12), and in love (1 Cor 13:7).

One-Minute Meditations for Busy People by Fr. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.