Time to Rise
Growing up, my dad had a saying that he’d often repeat to my brother and me. Whether it was after a bad baseball game, a poor grade, or some mistake or stupid decision, he’d say:
“A man is not measured by how many times he falls, but by how many times he gets back up.”
‘Not falling’ is not what makes you a man. Quite the contrary, as fallen creatures it’s a guarantee that we’ll fall again. But, will you get back up?
St. Francis De Sales has an encouraging line in the Introduction to the Devout Life: “Fortunately for us, in this war, we are always victorious provided that we are willing to fight.” Christ Himself said: “Whoever endures to the end will be saved.” Mt 10:22
With all three, my father, St. Francis De Sales, and Jesus, you’ll notice something. There’s a difference between the goal and the plan. Often, we think the goal is the plan. As in, I’m going to become a saint by… being a saint. But that doesn’t answer the question: How? How will we reach our goal: sainthood?
Get back up.
Be willing to fight.
Winning the imperishable crown comes down to perseverance. It’s the last man standing. Or, the last men standing. For us, that’s what separates victory from defeat. The simple act of trying again. Of calling on the Lord again for help. No matter how far along the path we are. That’s the plan. That’s how we can become saints.
Phillip Rivers, former NFL quarterback, gave the commencement speech at my graduate school. With his Alabaman draw, he shared a phrase that he had picked up along his journey as a husband, father, and pro athlete: “Nunc coepi.” Which means, “Now I begin.”
We all fall. Will we have the courage to begin again? Will we get back up?
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