Monday, September 19, 2016

Courage to Persevere

C. S. Lewis said that "courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point, which means at the point of highest reality."

In saying this he was following in the tradition of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, who believed that all the virtues—if they are to be of any practical value—must act with a "firmness" that can only be maintained by courage.

In other words, for a person to be honest or merciful or chaste or magnanimous or patient, he must first have the courage to overcome all the obstacles that stand in the way of practicing those virtues.

At some point, strong temptations are going to present themselves.

That's the moment when courage is most important.

Essentially, a person must have the guts not to give in.

Courage—or fortitude, as it used to be called—is needed in life to do any kind of good or resist any kind of evil.

You need courage to follow all the commandments, to face physical danger, to overcome fears, both rational and irrational.

You need courage to struggle against neuroses and phobias, to overcome addictions, to persevere through life's difficulties, to endure suffering.

You need courage to take risks, to give witness to the truth, to dare to do great things. In short, you need courage for just about everything.

That's why Churchill wrote that "courage is rightly considered the foremost of virtues, for upon it all others depend."

And why Franklin Roosevelt said "the only thing to fear is fear itself."

Both of these leaders understood the all-encompassing importance of courage. And that's why we're so unbelievably fortunate that God always says yes to the prayer:

"Please give me courage."

Did you know that in virtually every book of the Bible God tells us to be brave?

In fact, the words "fear not," "be not afraid," or variations on that phrase appear 144 times in sacred Scripture!

And they aren't just suggestions—they're commands.

The Bible doesn't say, "Try not to be afraid," it says, "Don't be afraid."

It doesn't say, "Do your best to be strong," it says, "Be strong and fear not, for I will help you.

As we've said previously, God never gives a command unless he also gives us the ability to follow that command.

For example, he doesn't expect everyone to become pastors or priests, because he doesn't give everyone the ability to perform those roles.

He doesn't require everyone to write books about the faith or preach sermons about it, because he doesn't give everyone the ability to carry out those tasks.

But he does command everyone to have courage.


Because he gives everyone the ability to overcome the fears they have to face in life.

You see, courage isn't just a skill or a talent or an ability that human beings possess.

It's a gift.

Yes, a person can have a fearless disposition, in the same way that some people are born with gentle and peaceful natures.

But the kind of courage we're talking about here is much more than that—it's something that is added onto our personality.

Thomas Aquinas used the famous theological expression "grace builds on nature" to describe the phenomenon.

What it means is that God can take what we are born with, or what we have acquired in life by observation or habit, and then infuse even more of it into our souls, supernaturally.

Basically, he can inject us with a special, divine "shot" of courage anytime he wants.

All we need to do is ask this of Him and believe:

"Please Give Me Courage"

From "The 10 Prayers God Always Answers "

Stay Strong!

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