Paul spoke of how he had kept going through the worst of times. “We are afflicted in every way, but not held back. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
That has been true for all of our heroes. I often think of two fine men who won through. They were Poland’s Cardinal Wyszynski and an Irish priest, Father Stuart.
Cardinal Wyszynski, after he had stood up for people’s rights during thirty years of Communist rule, was asked if it had been difficult, and he answered, “At any time during those years, I would have preferred dying to keeping up the daily struggle.”
Father Stuart stayed behind in the jungles during the four years that Burma was occupied by the Japanese. He had a triumph in escorting a class of orphans out to India, but for the most part it was hidden Masses, and staying on the run. When it was surprisingly over, he borrowed a phrase from Paul to describe his freedom. It was, “As dying, and behold we live.”
If there has been notable victories in our lives, they have followed on notable struggles. I like the way we were challenged by a Navy song from the 1930’s:
Shipmates stick together, it’s a long, long trip. Fair or stormy weather, we won’t give up, we won’t give up the ship. If you have to take a “lickin,” carry on, and quit your “kickin.” Don’t give up the ship.