Many of our biblical heroes were masters of perseverance (almost to the point of annoyance). Abraham, the greatest negotiator in the history of the world, drove down the price of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah through amazing perseverance. (Unfortunately, the premium remained too high for those towns.)
Another great example is Hannah, who continuously begged God for a son, promising to give him over to the Lord’s service. God answered her prayers, and she gave birth to Samuel, the last of Israel’s great judges.
Persistence is so important that Jesus himself teaches its power in three different Gospel parables: the persistent friend, the unjust judge, and the Canaanite woman.
Our Lord is saying that God wants to help us out. He is ready and willing. The guy in the parable of the persistent friend got out of bed and helped his buddy just so he would be left alone. Christ is saying, “look, if the friend at the door got what he wanted simply by being persistent, how much more will Our Father yield to our persistent prayers? Keep praying! Keep asking!
8. Corporal Austerities – If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. Catholics don’t do penance because we’re masochists (except for that one guy who has his chest waxed and then dons a hair shirt). We do it so that we won’t be too attached to the pleasures of this world. We do it so we can free ourselves from too much focus on this life and turn our eyes to heaven.
We’re made for far more than this world has to offer. It doesn’t hurt to start letting go of it now. The more room we make in our hearts for God, the greater our devotion will be. It’s that simple.
9. The last step to deep devotion is Works of Mercy. “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves,” says James 1:22. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead; performing these works of mercy will increase our devotion because we’re a union of body and soul. We need to act out our beliefs. And when we act them out, our devotion grows because not only do we see the fruits in others, but God causes love to grow in our hearts.
And if you’re not physically able to perform corporal works of mercy, there are always the spiritual ones!
- Instruct the ignorant.
- Counsel the doubtful.
- Admonish sinners.
- Bear wrongs patiently.
- Forgive offenses willingly.
- Comfort the afflicted.
- Pray for the living and the dead
That’s it! Finito! Over these last three posts we’ve covered St. Peter Alcantara’s 9 steps to deep devotion in Finding God Through Meditation. Hope they were as beneficial to you as they were to me!
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for my new podcast – “The Art of Catholic”. It’s just about ready!