Initial Zeal

For those who have lost their initial zeal:

There are times when we embrace a project in life with all our enthusiasm,

But then the difficulties of life and the annoyances of our own shortcomings and those of others cause us to lose heart.

There is a story of a Poor Clare nun who prayed before the tomb of St. Anthony that she might bear all the sufferings that she deserved because of her sins. There is an old saying, "Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it." By the next day, she was feeling poorly, and as time went on, her pain grew worse and worse. She finally had to be carried to the infirmary. When she could finally bear it no longer, the sisters placed a relic of the habit of St. Anthony on her. As soon as it touched her, her pains went away.

There is another story of zeal that grew more fervent. There was an official who led a dissolute life style. Every time that he came across St. Anthony in the streets, the saint would respectfully greet and even bow down to him. The official thought that St. Anthony was making fun of him and he was offended. But St. Anthony explained that he was serious in his greeting, for the saint knew that the official would one day become a saint by offering up his life for the faith.

Sometime later, the bishop of that city organized for a group of people to go to Jerusalem to preach to the Muslims. When they arrived, everyone showed more fear than courage in proclaiming the word except for that official. He courageously proclaimed the message of Jesus and for this he was put to death for the faith.

Prayer for oneself:

St. Anthony,
It is easy to lose heart and become complacent.
I began my journey with so much enthusiasm,
but lately I have cooled off a bit.
Remind me of my initial zeal.
May my faith burn brightly and my love be authentic.
May I be as enthused about my commitments
on the last day as I was on the first.
Amen.

Prayer for others:

St. Anthony,
I am praying for _________.
He/she begins a project filled with enthusiasm,
but then when difficulties come his/her way,
It seems as if he/she loses heart.
Remind ________ of his/her initial zeal.
May his/her faith burn brightly and his/her love be authentic.
May he/she be as enthused
on the last day as he/she was on the first.
Amen.

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