this post originally appeared on March 15, 2011
See if you can fill in the blank on this lenten Daytime prayer (for Midafternoon) antiphon:
"Armed with God's justice and power, let us prove ourselves through ____________________."
a. mighty deeds.
b. preaching the gospel.
c. patient endurance.
d. works of charity.
e. prayer and penance.
The answer is c.
Not that the other choices aren't good things. We are obliged to do these things too (well, not necessarily a.).
But it is striking, isn't it? That we poor pathetic creatures have to be armed with "God's justice and power" just to get through the ordinary routine of the day. Just to get the kids off to school (or get through homeschool lessons), to prepare 3 meals a day, to do the laundry, get through the day at work, and buy the groceries. For this I need God's justice and power? It's a humbling thought. I have to endure these things. They are going to happen whether I want them or not. The patience can be the tough part.
My husband's work is to travel around the country with the Pilgrim Virgin (Our Lady of Fatima) statue, teaching people how to live the Fatima message. The key teaching is to "accept and bear with submission whatever suffering God may send me each day", and to offer just that--one's patient endurance of everything: from a traffic jam to a whining child to a diagnosis of cancer--in reparation for the sins of the world and for the conversion of sinners. Yes, it's also great to say the rosary, make holy hours, do the Divine Office, give extra alms, pray at abortion mills. But this very first thing--patiently enduring whatever happens for the love of God--is something we often overlook. A mere act of mindfulness about what is happening to us, then quickly joining that to the perfect offering of Jesus--this can make us conduits of grace to save souls.
Looking at it that way, it's easier to see why patient endurance mght indeed be a Mighty Work after all. To turn Hamlet's soliquy on it's head, the antiphon is telling us we can "take arms against a sea of troubles, and by enduring, save souls."