I had the privilege recently of meeting with Sister Prema, the head of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. Founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa, the religious order now has over 4,000 sisters. In her young adult years, Mother Teresa sensed God’s calling to leave her home country and serve the poorest of the poor in India. She went to the streets of old Calcutta and found great need. There she cared for the homeless, the wounded, and the crippled, all the women and men who were unwanted and cast aside.
Sister Prema, who now leads the religious order, had the answer that I have long searched for regarding endurance. Humility and gentleness radiated from Sister Prema — a living testimony of her faith in God. Along with other church leaders, we had come to talk about justice and faith. Topics that do not lend themselves to quick answers.
“Much needs to be done,” Sister Prema told us. “Perseverance is possible only through love.”
Time stopped for me in that moment.
Perseverance. Love. I had never connected these together.
Sister Prema shared that the work of the Missionaries of Charity can only continue through the sisters’ love for the Lord. Their love for the people of Calcutta always follows their first love. She asked for prayer for growth in each sister’s pursuit of holiness. Love. Perseverance.
Out of our core of love for the Lord, endurance becomes possible. When obstacles arise and frustration sets in, the focus on love will see us through. The struggles ought not consume sleep and anxious hours. Our love for God and faith in His goodness need to be what carries us.
With great love, perseverance naturally follows.
Many parts in my life need perseverance. Marriage and parenting especially come to the forefront as I ponder endurance. I delight in the highlights: anniversary celebrations, birthday parties, holidays, and school milestones. The difficulties of arguments and misunderstandings, however, drain the days of all their color. My underlying love for my husband and for my children sustain me in these discouraging times.
Undergirding this love for my family, ultimately, is my love for the Lord. Were it to be reversed, endurance becomes unsustainable.
This same principle applies to the gifts, talents, and passions that we have.
Do you love to write? To cook? To run? To bike? Pursue them with great joy but don’t allow them to be your joy. Things happen. Obstacles will intrude but it’s ok! Focus on your gratitude for God’s giftedness in you. Then your passion for writing or cooking or whatever will, truly, endure. You will figure out the source of the difficulties. You will take the next step.
With great love, endurance naturally follows.
Posted by Sharon R Hoover