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Pray for perseverance

Archbishop Wenski's reflection at second vespers with priests at convocation

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this reflection during vespers on the second evening, Sept. 20, of the annual convocation of archdiocesan priests, which took place Sept. 19-21, 2023.

St. Peter tells us: “ the measure that you share in Christ’s sufferings.”  And, he adds: Happy are you where you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God’s Spirit in its glory has come to rest on you.”

Perhaps, “blessed” rather than “happy” would be a better translation. In any case, the Apostle does not want us to be surprised or disheartened when suffering comes our way.

Yesterday, we learned something about the martyrs of La Florida. Today, we celebrated the feast of the Korean martyrs. Yet the witness of the martyrs lies not in the distant past or in a place far away from us. Here in South Florida, we are surrounded by islands of pain: Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and many other places that are dear to our hearts, places where many of you have family and deep roots. We only need to recall Bishop Rolando Alvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and that martyred Church.

If Jesus, the Head, suffered pain, loneliness, ridicule, betrayal, and insult, so will his Body, the Church, suffer pain, loneliness, ridicule, betrayal, and insult. Our share in Christ’s sufferings might seem to be very little when compared to the sufferings of so many others. But sometimes it seems that it is harder to bear the small insults or ridicule than the bigger ones, so we pray for perseverance. As Bishop [Enrique] Delgado’s episcopal motto has it: I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.