Perseverance in our commitments

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THE gospel story of Anna, the prophetess, (cfr. Lk 2,36-40) gives us the precious lesson of how important it is to persevere in our commitments. It that story, it is said that she was already advanced in years and never left the temple, worshipping night and day with fasting and prayer.

And when she finally saw the promised Redeemer when the child Jesus was presented in the temple, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

Her life story should somehow reflect the life story of each one of us. Like her, we should be waiting, for the coming of Christ at our death and at the end of time. We should do this with a deep sense of commitment, a commitment of love, no less.

This is a common challenge we all face. We often are good only at the beginning of some commitment like in our love for someone, but we many times cannot go very far. Yes, we savor and relish the sweet and intoxicating feelings when we fall in love. But to persevere in it? We often find ourselves failing, or at best, doddering in an erratic fashion, like an old man even if we are still young.

How do we keep our commitment of love—of God and of everybody else—till forever? How do we keep the flame of love ever burning despite the cold and the dust that can come our way? I believe the answer is in our understanding of the very nature of the commitment of love.

For many of us, we understand the commitment of love more as a matter of feelings or of material, bodily or carnal attraction. Of course, it is true that in love, everything that we have and we are, are involved. The emotions and the passions play an important role. Except that in true love, we have to give the primary role to our spiritual faculties of intelligence and will.

It’s these faculties or powers that would enable us to enter into the spiritual and supernatural dimension of love. And it’s in these dimensions where we can find the true source, pattern, energy and purpose of our commitment of love, who in the end is God. It’s in these dimensions that can make our commitment persevere and constantly burning despite the ups and downs of our life, or the dizzying drama of our earthly sojourn.

The commitment of love that is a participation in the love of God can take on anything. The good things would not spoil us, making us proud, conceited, vain, complacent, etc. And the bad things would neither put us down, no, not even the scandals and betrayals of those close to us.

This true commitment of love will always stay on course, just like what couples on their wedding promise to love and honor each other “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

We have to make sure then that the spiritual and supernatural dimensions of our commitment of love are always nourished. Failing in this can only mean that we are simply indulging on a fake kind of love.

This means that in spite of the busy schedule we may have, we just have to find time praying, reflecting and meditating on God’s love for us and on how we can reflect that love in our daily affairs.