REFLECTION: Tenacity PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 14:02

We need to be familiar with this virtue. This has been so relegated in the background for quite sometime now that hardly anyone knows about it even if we actually live aspects of it, at least, since we cannot avoid them.

And yet this is what we urgently need now. Many people, the young ones being the most pitiable among them, are drifting with no clear sense of direction in life, and are tossed to and from by all sorts of currents merely hormonal, social, environmental. There’s hardly any sense of compass.
Tenacity has to do with persistence, perseverance, resolve, determination. If we need to reach our end, our homeland, this is what we need. It teaches us how to move on in our earthly journey where we can meet all sorts of situations and predicaments.

But before we drag tenacity to its caricatures of rigidity, inflexibility, hardheadedness or stubbornness, we need to remind ourselves that this virtue rather connotes flexibility, capacity to flow with the tides, to regroup, retool, reinvent, etc.
The secret of tenacity lies precisely in its power to renew itself constantly, going through the endless process of beginning and beginning again. It’s in its power to be born again as often as needed that keeps it going.

For this purpose, it is a result and is vitally connected with all the other virtues, foremost among which would be charity, then humility, then fortitude, patience, optimism.

It can only grow and develop on the ground of truth and charity. In short, it can only prosper when it is vitally linked to God, who gives it its life-giving impulses, its directions, its end and means. When exercised with God, one would know what to expect and how to handle obstacles and mishaps he can meet along the way of life.

These days, with all the pressures and problems besetting us more and more heavily, this virtue needs to be understood well, and be pursued without let up. And to think that these challenges are not anymore merely economic or social, but are of the more intricate and delicate type—the spiritual and moral!
To develop tenacity in this kind of milieu requires more than just developing the proper frame of mind, or the strengthening of one’s will and character. It demands nothing less than a deeper and more authentic grounding of our life—especially our mind and heart—on God.

This means we really have to rev up our spiritual life, going deeper into all aspects of our Christian formation—human, spiritual, doctrinal-religious, apostolic and professional.

This means we have to raise to the next level our life of prayer and sacrifice, faith, recourse to the sacraments, our life in the Church and with others, especially the poor and those who are alienated from the Church for one reason or another.

When we live them truly, we effectively enter into God’s life and power, and no wiles of our flesh, no allurements of the world, no temptations and tricks of the devil can put us off-track, leading us to bitter zeal or discouragement and despair.

We have to live these aspects of Christian life more consistently. Even when we are reading the newspapers, we should do it somehow in a spirit of prayer and faith, otherwise, we will miss many finer spiritual and moral points involved in the items and easily fall victim to hasty if not erroneous judgments.

We have to brace ourselves for far more complicated and daunting challenges, because our times demand a more discerning spirit. We face issues with complex and competing values involved. The people involved are most likely close to us—relatives, friends, colleagues—who fall in different if not opposing sides.

This situation can provoke many negative consequences—anger, hatred, envy, rash judgments, all forms of lack of charity—that we should try our best to avoid. This is where the virtue of tenacity has to be developed along the lines that are truly connected to God.

Otherwise, there’s no way this virtue can take off. And instead of resolving issues charitably, we easily get stung by the rhetorical fireworks and flourishes and therefore launch an emotional counter move that worsens things.

Or worse, we can get so discouraged and stuck that we can just play the ostrich defense, burying our head in the sand, remaining completely indifferent to developments and challenges around.
This is actually the meltdown of tenacity, and the failure of man. We have to help one another in building up this virtue so urgently needed these days! --FR. ROY CIMAGALA