“Trust in God…Believe in Heaven…We were born to strive and endure.” (From Jane Eyre, Chapter 27)
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is one of the greatest novels in English literature. It is, as Blackburn suggests, essentially a religious novel. It is a novel about long-suffering, painful perseverance and the graces won through the acceptance and endurance of trials and suffering. In the end the proud Mr. Rochester marries Jane Eyre, but only after being severely humbled. He tells Jane near the end of the novel that “I began to see and acknowledge the hand of God in my doom. I began to experience remorse, repentance, the wish for reconcilement to my Maker. I began sometimes to pray: very brief prayers they were but very sincere” (Chapter 37). Dear God, may we never forget to pray during our tribulations!
a. the virtue of patience: “lovingly and fully accepting the trials that Divine Goodness sees fit to let a person undergo”; and,
Dear friend, it is through many trials and tribulations that we enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Acts 14:22). We need to beseech the Holy Spirit for the fruits of long-suffering and patience, and over and over again. One of the great principles of the spiritual life is simply to ask God for the virtues we need. God converted Saint Paul on the road to Damascus, and thereafter this great evangelist and apostle endured unbelievable hardships:
Let’s face it: there is an immense power of sanctification associated with suffering. And God is in the sanctification business. God will see us through to the end. He his near: “nearer to us than we are to ourselves.” Deep trust, deep prayer, and powerful perseverance is what is needed. And then, like Jane Eyre, when her dreams of happiness were being torn asunder, we will say, “God must have led me on…I was weeping wildly as I walked along my solitary way…a weakness seized me and I fell: I lay on the ground some minutes, pressing my face to the wet turf. I had some fear – or hope – that here I should die: but I was soon up: crawling forward on my hands and knees, and then again raised to my feet – as eager and as determined as ever to reach the road” (Chapter 27).
Persevere, my friend, during these difficult times which may become increasingly more difficult, for the road of redemptive suffering leads to eternal Life.
Tom Mulcahy, M.A.
Image: Portrait of Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, by George Richmond, as it appears at Wikipedia. The date is 1850. According to Wikipedia this work is in the Public Domain for the U.S.A., but may not be for other countries. See the Wikipedia article on Charlotte Bronte incorporated herein by reference.
Ref. There is a song by the Catholic singer, Mark Mallet, with lyrics, “Persevere, my friend, for the reward is eternal life.” It should be remembered that Miss Eyre left her employment and place of residence in order to avoid a sinful relationship. She chose immense suffering rather than compromising the moral law. Father Lovasik’s definitions are in Favorite Novenas to the Holy Spirit, p.47, (Catholic Book Publishing Co.).
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