Spiritual Strength

General George Patton is quoted as saying,

“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom”.

Can this quote be attributed to Catholicism? Does this quote exemplify the true definition of spiritual strength?

I don’t judge a Catholic by how sinless he is, by how chaste and perfect he is, but instead by how tough he is. I prefer the Catholic who has fallen and tasted defeat, who has given in to the worst aspects of his original sin, and knowing that he has sinned, and broken the rules, with every reason to leave the church, or at the very least be a Catholic in name only, he continues to fight, to struggle, and to persevere against his own worst enemy, himself

Catholicism at its very core is an eternal struggle. Catholicism is supposed to be hard, painful, and uncomfortable, and the average Catholic is unfortunately predestined to sin. Because one cannot get up, unless they have fallen, just as one cannot appreciate a calm, warm, and sunny day, unless he or she has been stuck inside when it is dark, cold, and wet.

As Catholics, we must embrace and welcome the eternal struggle against our worst natures. We must view acts of sinning as challenges to be overcome, and not eternal and permanent stains on our character. True spiritual strength is not perfection, but imperfection. Striving to be better in the face of failure, internal doubts, and earthly temptations.

The biblical hero archetype is an imperfect and flawed individual, who is raised up by God to achieve extraordinary things. God desires each of us to strive for perfection everyday but to be wholly perfect at all times, to never fail, or struggle, to never doubt, or fall away from God, means that we lose a painful yet important aspect of the Catholic experience. Blind faith is not true faith.

To quote Theodore Roosevelt,

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

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