|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XVIII: ”How Temporal Miseries are to be Borne with Patience Imitating the Example of Jesus Christ” (second entry)
The Way, spoken about, even in the Acts of the Apostles, is the path of the disciple faithfully following Jesus, imitating Him and doing His will. We need His help to maintain “a holy patience” since the challenges of this life and the desire to receive our eternal reward can make us manifestly impatient.
|Today’s second reading: 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18
Maybe the last letter he wrote before his death, Paul speaks closing words of finishing the race, preaching to the Gentiles, praising the Lord for protecting him and strengthening him, then expresses full confidence that he will soon be receiving “the crown or righteousness,” that is, a heavenly reward for his extraordinary earthly labors..
While Paul had expressed a longing for his eternal reward, he knew he had work to do on the Lord’s behalf before being granted eternal rest (see Phil 1:22-24). He exhibited a “holy patience” through disappointment, rejection, suffering, and, ultimately, martyrdom. He awaited his glorious crown and was confident he would achieve it by faithfully living the mission the Lord had imparted to him. He knew that no outside evils could deter him if he wouldn’t let them:
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35, 37-39)
This should be for us a comforting thought. God is love — He cannot not love us. Only we can permit our separation from this love if we act wrongly in the trials and temptations that are sure to come. So let us patiently stay on the Way so as to, like Paul, achieve the crown as we are led “safe to his heavenly kingdom.” Please “Lord…rescue me from every evil threat.”