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  • Sarah Raad

Persistence

“So He said to the paralysed man, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.’ Then the man got up and went home.” (Matthew 9:6).

Healing the Paralytic (Unknown)

I heard a very beautiful story of perseverance the other day, and it went something like this…


During World War I, an injured German soldier was taken to France for treatment as his condition was very grave. A nun was nursing him. When she realised that his injury was terminal, she told him that she would be praying for him and asked him whether he would like to see a priest to prepare for his final hours of life. The young soldier laughed at her and told her that he would not see a priest, nor would he confess his sins. The nun responded that she would continue praying for the young soldier. He told her, “You'll give up because I don't have any intention to confess.” The nun only laughed. “I don't give up easily, you see, I have been praying for a particular man for more than 16 years.” The dying soldier responded, “You must love him dearly!” And the nun replied, “Actually I don't know him personally. My mother used to serve a countess in Germany. The countess knew I was a religious nun and told my mum to ask me for prayers for her son. Apparently, the countess' son was leading a very sinful life...” The soldier looked visibly shocked, “Are you the daughter of Catherine?” The nun responded, “Why? Are you Charles, the son of the Countess?”


And he was!


The soldier received the Sacrament of Reconciliation just prior to his death – thanks to the persistence of that woman of faith…


And I have been reflecting on that persistence that is required to help souls to reach heaven.

Saint Josemaria advised that we should pray for persistence in prayer, because this is the MOST important thing… And I have come to realise that he is correct. Take the story of the paralytic man… His friends were persistent. They carried him to Christ. And when – after their presumably long journey, they arrived and were unable to get close to Christ, they did not give up. Instead, they continued to persist – they continued to work out ways to get their friend close to God…

“They brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.’… For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?... So He said to the paralysed man, ‘Get up, take your mat and go home.’ Then the man got up and went home.” (Mt 9:1-8).


And I have been reflecting on this miracle of the paralysed man as I pray for the souls I have adopted as my spiritual children – along with the souls of my biological children… For Saint Padre Pio said, “I love my spiritual children as much as my own soul, and once I take a soul on, I also take on their entire family as my spiritual children.” And that means that I shall persist in my prayers for them – even when all seems lost. For I would not lose my own soul, for all the world, and because I love them as much as that I want them to “Get up, take your mat and go home.” (Matthew 9:6).


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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