Thought for the Day – 30 August – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“He who has persevered to the end,” Jesus tells us, “will be saved” (Mt 10:22; 24:13).
Elsewhere He says that “no-one, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdome of God” (Cf Lk 9:62).
It is necessary, therefore, to persevere in goodness, if we wish to be saved.
It is easy to begin but, it is difficult to continue.
In a moment of fervour, perhaps, you promised to be holy.
Maybe some misfortune came your way, such as the loss of someone very dear to you and you were moved to meditate upon the vanity of earthly things and promised to dedicated yourself entirely to God.
In that moment, you experienced the truth of the words of Ecclesiastes, summarised in The Imitation of Christ: “Vanity of vanities and all is vanity but, to love God and serve Him alone” (Bk 1, c 1:4).
Unfortunately, your good resolutions wore away with time.
You may have been swept away once more by the deceptive pleasures of this world.
Or perhaps, your charity grew cold and in your tepidity, you gave into the violent onslaught of temptation.
Christian perseverance has three main enemies.
(1) Firstly, there is time, which slowly consumes this virtue.
You must conquer time by resolving to begin the battle anew every morning of your life.
(2) Then there is the devil, who goes about, as St Peter warns us, like a lion in search of his prey (Cf 1 Peter 5:8).
You must resist him by the strength of your faith.
(3) Finally, there is spiritual sloth, which easily invades the soul.
You must take your cue from St Paul’s exhortation: “My beloved brethren, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).
Antonio Cardinal Bacci