FORTITUDE, THE GIFT TO OVERCOME DIFFICULT MOMENTS
Vatican City, 14 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father, in the catechesis of this Wednesday’s general audience, mentioned the first three gifts of the Holy Spirit considered during the previous weeks: wisdom, understanding and counsel, and went on to talk about the fourth gift, fortitude. To explain the importance of this gift, he offered the example of the parable of the sower. The seeds which fall on the road are eaten by birds, and those which fall among the stones dry out; only those that fall on good soil grow and bear fruit.
The sower is the Father, who sows the seeds of His Word. “The seeds often encounter the aridity of our heart and, even when accepted, risk remaining sterile. With the gift of fortitude, however, the Holy Spirit wakes the ground of our heart from its torpor, uncertainty and all the fears that may hold it back, so that the Word of the Lord may be put into practice, in an authentic and joyful manner”. The Pope spoke about all those difficult moments and extreme situations in which the gift of fortitude manifests itself in an extraordinary way, and remarked that the Church is “resplendent with the witness of many brothers and sisters who have not hesitated to give their lives in order to remain faithful to the Lord and to His Gospel”, and that nowadays there are still many Christians who offer witness to their faith in perilous circumstances. He added, “We all know people who have experienced difficult situations and great suffering. But, think of these men, these woman, who lead difficult lives, who struggle to maintain their families, to bring up their children: they do all of this because the spirit of fortitude helps them. … These brothers and sisters of ours are saints, everyday saints, saints who are concealed among us; they have the gift of fortitude that allows them to carry out their duties as persons, as fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and citizens. … And it is good for us to think about these people: if they do all this, if they can do it, why can’t I? It is good for us to ask the Lord for the gift of fortitude”.
However, “it should not be thought that the gift of fortitude is necessary only on some occasions or in particular situations. This gift must constitute the base note of our Christian being, nurturing in us a sanctity lived in the ordinariness of our daily life”. Pope Francis commented that the phrase of the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. Before concluding, the Pontiff added that “at times we are tempted by idleness or we are discouraged, especially when faced with the burdens and trials of life. In these cases, we must not lose heart, but must instead invoke the Holy Spirit, so that the gift of fortitude might lift our hearts and transmit new strength and enthusiasm to our life and to our following of Jesus”.
FROM THE LETTERS OF THE SERVANT OF GOD LUISA PICCARRETA
Letter # 80
“…what I recommend is that you never lose peace, and that do not think of your miseries and weaknesses. The more you think about them, the more you will feel them, and you will really make Jesus cry. On the other hand, by not thinking of them, dear Jesus will cover them with His Love, and the Light of His Will will change them into fortitude and divine riches. Oh, how I wish you would occupy yourself with nothing but living from the Divine Will, to let sweet Jesus live always together with you. Never lose sight of Him, my daughter; never leave Him alone in your heart. May everything you do serve to court and love Jesus. He looks at everything you do, whether they are things directed to love Him and keep Him company within your heart. Oh, how embittered He remains when your external acts do not echo in your interior, bringing Him your kisses, your love, your longed for company… If you want to be a saint, live always with Jesus. He takes on the commitment to make of you His faithful copy, to the extent of being able to say: “Jesus has made of me another Jesus.” These are His aims. My daughter, make Him content.