Excerpt from Desert Armor
Talk given by M. Nadine
“My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my Savior. ” (Ex 15:2)
The gift that I’m going to briefly talk about is the gift of fortitude. We need courage in the Christian walk because it takes courage to be a Christian. Christianity is not natural; it’s supernatural. It’s above our natural inclinations. This is what Baptism did for us. It is not always easy to stand firm, to stand fast, and so St. Paul said, “Use this gift and draw your strength from the Lord and from His mighty power” (see Eph 6:10). We go into the desert to do this. We go into that intimacy. We go into that relationship with God and draw His strength because otherwise we’re going to run scared. We don’t naturally have that kind of courage, particularly when we’re up against the enemy. We need to have tremendous fortitude. It takes courage to be holy.
God said, “I want you to be holy because I’m holy” (Lv 20:7). He gave us His reason: I want you to be like Me. I made you in My image and likeness. I want you to look like Me.” Isn’t that beautiful? But it takes courage. It takes courage to speak Truth. We can be rejected. We can be confronted. We can be chastised. All sorts of things can happen. Jesus was put to death for speaking Truth. Pilate asked Him, “Are you a king?” It took courage to say, “Yes, I am. My Kingdom is not of this world. But I am a King” (Jn 18:33-36). He knew it would cost Him His life. It took courage for Mary to submit and surrender to God’s will for Her. She wasn’t married. She knew the law would mean stoning. Mary risked Her own life. That took courage.
Every “yes” takes courage. It takes courage to witness to Jesus. It takes courage not to listen to certain jokes or not to see certain films or not to be at certain parties. These choices are in our lives every day. Fortitude is the gift that the Spirit has given us so that we can stand firm and draw our strength, courage and hope from the Lord.
“Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for You are at my side; Your rod and staff give me courage. ” (Ps 23:4)