In today’s first reading, we see a writing from the apostle Paul in which he tells Timothy to “bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.” Paul urges Timothy to continue to act as a soldier of Christ in preaching the good news. Even in the troubling times that Paul was in, being a prisoner of the Romans, he never lost his faith and dedication to spreading the teachings of the Gospel, also indicating that he holds no shame for it alongside his sufferings. Paul’s message is meant to encourage the use of God’s graces to keep our faith.
I believe this passage connects so well with what I am trying to accomplish currently in life, to face my challenges with strength and perseverance. I feel at the moment that there are so many changes happening in my life and in the world that I wonder how I am supposed to truly handle it all. Paul talks about using the strength given to us by God and this makes me question -- what does strength look like from God? I think the usual notion of strength is identified as some form of physical and mental capability of a person in which they use it to overcome a greater obstacle. From this reading, I tried to think of strength in a more broad term in which strength encompasses different values, like courage, love, resilience, and dedication. I like to think that strength is something that a person seeks within themselves in many different forms. For me personally, I believe the value that I currently need the most is courage, the courage to endure the current challenges in my life and continue my dedication to the teachings of the Gospel. I have to remember that even in troubling times that God has not abandoned me and that he has not abandoned the world, bestowing upon us the gifts and teachings necessary for our salvation.
God has given us the grace and wisdom to look beyond ourselves and to seek the light of our faith. How can we continue to live out our mission and devotion as we bear our share of hardship for the Gospel? What does strength look like for you and how do you recognize it?
Erin Camemo, Class of 2022