The most obvious theme for this Sunday is that of perseverance. The collect (opening prayer) asks, "that the Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name". St. Paul, in the second reading, encourages Timothy (and us!) to "continue in what you have learned and firmly believed" and to "be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable". And, Jesus offers "a parable about the need to pray always and not to lose heart."
19th-century British writer W. E. Hickson is credited with the well-known proverb:
Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try, try again
British Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon (+1892) says that "By perseverance the snail reached the ark".
A question arises: does perseverance in our relationship with God, in the Christian life, consist in trying, trying, and trying again? Well, perhaps. There are choices to be made-sometimes hard, often repeatedly. There is a deliberate effort that consists in operating from deep within the heart, undeterred by inner or outer circumstances, "persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable". But, perseverance in our relationship with God, in the Christian life, does not consist is "grinning and bearing it", in "white-knuckling" it across the finish line. The parable is "about the need to pray always and not to lose heart". Friends of Jesus are not Stoic. Friends of Jesus courageously find refuge in His heart. To pray always is, repeatedly, to bury oneself, in love, in Jesus. It is in His Heart, "fountain of eternal life", as St. Gertrude (+1302), the German Benedictine mystic, says, that we do not lose heart. Indeed, with her, we can say to Jesus, "your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love. You are my refuge and my sanctuary".
From the desk of the Rector