Over the weekend, two sports teams I was pulling for came up short and did not leave with the “W”. One of those teams, MY team, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball, lost to rival University of Florida on Saturday night. I wasn’t able to catch the game on TV so I listened on the radio. My heart would sink each time I heard the score announced, knowing that it was a mounting deficit that was going to be hard to come back from.
The other team, not really my team — I was just for the underdog and hoping they would get their first Super Bowl championship — the Atlanta Falcons. At the start of the game I was very hopeful, perhaps even a bit smug, that the Falcons would take home the trophy. After all, at the end of the first half the Falcons led the Patriots 21-3…it seemed the win was a done deal. Then it was on to the halftime performance by Lady Gaga. I don’t know what happened during the second half but my smugness slowly began to deteriorate as I watched New England’s score increase. The game went into overtime and, as I watched in disbelief, the player dove into the end zone for the win. It certainly appeared as though the Patriots persevered until the end.
All of this brings to mind the words of Saint Angela Merici, founder of the Ursuline Sisters. In the Prologue of the Rule Angela says, “Then, make the greatest effort to live in the state to which you will have been called by God. Seek all the ways and means to make progress and to persevere in this state to the very end, for a good beginning is never enough without perseverance.”
Since the early stages of my discernment/formation as an Ursuline Sister I have adopted the end of that quote as my mantra. I have to make that recommitment to remain faithful to my yes to God…without perseverance it is easy to quit when things get tough. Instead, I must remind myself that I am called to persevere despite times or circumstances being difficult. Unlike the sports teams, our goal is not a championship trophy, instead it is the joy of eternal life that was purchased with a cross. May each of us strive to bring our best selves to our work and prayer–remember that a good beginning is never enough without perseverance.