Perseverance: A Necessary Optimism

How often do we feel tired? Yet we go on, do we not, getting up, going through the day’s routine, doing what we can and hoping, however vaguely, that tomorrow will be different, somehow better than today? That is what I call a necessary optimism. It is very closley linked to what monks and nuns mean by perseverance: the humble routine of life in the monastery faithfully followed day after day. To an outsider the monastic routine can look dull, even dispiriting; but it does its work. Little by little, both individual and community are transformed. Yet when we embrace that routine, when we are clothed in the habit or make profession of vows, the transformations wrought by grace are largely hidden from us. We make an act of faith in God and the community just as God and the community make an act of faith in us. Sometimes it is good to remember that God too is an optimist, always expecting the best of us and keeping faith in and with us even when — perhaps especially when — we have lost all faith in ourselves.

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6 thoughts on “Perseverance: A Necessary Optimism”

  1. Thank you for this. My cup of coffee tasted sweeter, and the prospect of a busy day is not so daunting. Especially the prospect of tackling something I know will be physically demanding to the point of discomfort. Holy Trinity may be small but it reminds me of those tiny little batteries which carry an amazing voltage. I hope you don’t think I am being cheeky or irreverent in making this comment but your words do stir up my thoughts in unexpected ways. My respect and best wishes to you all.

  2. Two of my adult children are long-distance runners. So, I take inspiration from them. Perseverance is an important quality, often under-rated. Thanks also for the insight into monastic life.

  3. I needed something today, so I looked up your site and found this.
    Thank you; I generally have to say a prayer each morning to get myself up out of bed and going. I plod….
    Assuming I make it to heaven, I hope to ‘glide’.

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