Sunday, April 11, 2010

The importance of perseverance

Undoubtedly, one of the most important principles I was taught as part of my monastic formation is that of perseverence. Without it, most other virtues are really quite impossible:

There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few privileged people; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the least of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time.

-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I don't think perseverence necessarily needs to be particularly harsh or austere. But it does need to be continous. And perhaps Goethe is saying that harshness and austerity are, somehow, analogous to strength and that we don't need to be privileged at all to access those very powerful tools.

1 comment:

  1. Strength alone, without perseverance, is unlikely to accomplish much.
    But I think Goethe knew this: "Wer immer strehbend sich bemueht, den koennen wir erloesen."


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