Hold fast to the Rule, and to the faith of the Church, and to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps there is little more to be said than beyond offering this encouragement: Hold fast to the Rule, and to the faith of the Church, and to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. This life is filled with times of struggles, uncertainty and weariness. There are times when we, and our faith, are being tested. At others, we are being challenged and feel the pangs of growth, of the Lord transforming us into a more clear and life-like image of his very own likeness--this is the Dark Night and Ascent of Mt. Carmel that John of the Cross has described for us; that journey and way along the slopes of perfection that can be long and arduous at times, but as we know from our daily life and the normal way of things, significant rewards require significant work and investment. And as a good friend reminded me in one of my darker hours: “No cross, no Crown.” That the rewards of heaven and the fruit of a life of perfection come through such times of toil and hardship. Not even the Son of God could escape this mystery of things: “Father, I pray that if possible, take this cup from me...but only that your will is done”; even he, the one who himself conquered death and was raised by his own power, could not have been raised the King of Heaven without such suffering; that the Son of Man, to be raised in Glory, was to be handed over, tortured, abused, mocked and sacrificed for our sins.