Week of 3 Lent, Year One[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 119:97-120 (morning) // 81, 82 (evening)
Last night, a guest speaker at my moms’ group spoke to us about research indicating that character strengths like perseverance are more predictive of “success” than are cognitive abilities. Our second reading today lays out a sort of curriculum for this kind of character growth. It all starts with our perseverance through suffering: “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”
It’s interesting that this pattern doesn’t start with hope. Sometimes, hope is presented as a force that allows us to endure and persist through adverse experiences. But in this passage from the Romans, only by enduring and persisting through these experiences do we develop hope. Hope is not the pre-condition, but the end product of persevering.
Instead of searching or waiting for hope to pull us through, we might need to produce that hope ourselves by pushing forward. This capacity to persevere until we find hope is a sign even now that the resurrection life is at work within us. Even if our only accomplishment today is enduring another twenty-four hours, who knows what strengths of character, hope, and love are in the making.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.