During these past weeks, my family and I have been engrossed in the Olympic Games. Not only have the competitions, medal counts and uniforms caught our attention but also the stories of the athletes. We hear that these athletes have been training since they were very young. Despite trials, hard times, broken bones, and homesickness, they persevered to attain their goal of becoming an Olympic athlete. The stories are truly inspiring.
In today’s first reading, we begin at the start of the Letter of James. Immediately after his greeting, he dives into the importance of trials and perseverance in our faith. "Consider it all joy my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." James 1:2
We need perseverance to continue to grow in our lives and faith. As everyone knows, we have or will encounter trials often. Whether it be the loss of a job, illness, death of a loved one, or spiritual dryness; all of these trials and more can test our faith.
During these trying times in my life, I have always referred back to the saying "What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger." Not particularly poetic, but there is some truth to it. Many of these trials do not kill us, but produce perseverance and endurance within us to run the race and fight the good fight. These trials remind us of the great grace, mercy and love that is bestowed on us by Christ.
From the example of the Olympic athletes, we know that this perseverance is not gained overnight. It is nurtured by a daily commitment to your passion. And in order to grow in our relationship with God, we must have passion for our faith. Making the daily effort to nurture this gift of faith will help to keep up our endurance and keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
So like these athletes, let us work hard towards our goals. "We will run and not grown weary, for our God will be our strength and we will fly like an eagle, we will rise again. We Will Rise Again." David Haas
Kim Valdez is a Pastoral Associate at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.