"Enduring courage; strength of character in bearing pain with patience or in meeting danger undauntedly."
Strength. Not only of body, but of will and spirit and mind. Guts, gusto, what have you. I feel as though fortitude appears in my own life in brief, momentary flashes and then seems to vanish into thin air. How to hold on to it is still a mystery to me.
"Enduring courage." It's not uncommon to wonder how one's courage can endure in such a frightening and brutal world. How can one persistently stand up for good in a world filled with poverty, hatred, violence and despair? Wars never cease so long as man is filled with pride and greed. Each new conflict, each death, each dashed dream can seem like another nail in courage's coffin.
We can only hope to live the virtue of fortitude if it is nourished by faith. Faith complements and indeed fuels fortitude. Such a virtue of strength amidst pain and suffering must be held in the highest esteem. Standing firm for our Lord and his Gospel of life, rooted in the truth of his resurrection and his promise to prepare a place for us, we can live in fortitude. As Scripture says, "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can indeed be filled with fortitude - enduring courage and meeting danger undauntedly - for that fortitude is the very presence of God himself in our hearts, filling us with his own courage and strength!
O Heavenly Father, grant unto me your steadfast endurance - the patient fortitude you displayed at Gethsemane. Amen.