Take Courage

"Take Courage" painted on building - image by Nick Webb under CC BY 2.0

One thing about Ignatius—he had courage. Common sense isn’t always apparent in his early life; humility came later, too, and Ignatius grew into his relationship with God, as we all do. But whether it was misdirected or not in his youth, his fearlessness has always been apparent.

Maybe because I never feel like I have enough courage, Mark’s Gospel about Bartimaeus caught my attention recently. The blind man sits at the side of the road begging until he hears that Jesus is passing by on his way out of town. He puts up a fuss—another thing I am not likely to do. He starts yelling for pity and even when people try to silence him, he continues to yell for Jesus.

But then Jesus realizes someone needs him and tells the crowd to send Bartimaeus over. They say to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”

What an amazing thing: Bartimaeus’ call to healing starts with the words, “Take courage.” He is told to get up and get going—“Jesus is calling.”

Some days the idea of Christ calling me makes me want to stay in bed and hide under the covers. What does he want now? What kind of hard thing will he ask me to do? Will it be too big or too difficult for me? Take too much courage? Apparently, whining goes hand-in-hand with fear in my prayer life.

But it’s not just the crowd inviting me to courage—it is Jesus, who says it over and over again to his disciples and to me. I can tremble with what Jesus might ask of me. Will it be to step before hungry lions in the Coliseum, stand in front of the oncoming army of an unjust government, or join with Mother Teresa’s sisters in India? OK, probably not.

Maybe courage is really the invitation from Jesus to have a big heart. Could it be that Jesus just wants me to live the way he lives—with love and compassion for others—and be unafraid when it comes to speaking up for the poor?

Pope Francis recently suggested to a group of students and teachers that they be magnanimous. He said:

What does it mean to be magnanimous? It means to have a big heart, to have a great spirit; it means to have great ideals, the desire to do great things to respond to that which God asks of us, and exactly this doing of daily things well, all of the daily acts, obligations, encounters with people; doing everyday small things with a big heart open to God and to others.

So maybe the real call from Christ is simply to live my own life doing the daily things well and doing them with a big heart. Not very dramatic, but challenging. I just need to remember that it is Jesus who is calling me and who is with me.

And on the days we want to pull the covers over our heads and stay in bed, we get up and take courage. Jesus is calling us to be healed.

Subscribe to dotMagis, the blog of Ignatian SpiritualityImage by Nick Webb under CC BY 2.0 license.

About Maureen McCann Waldron 41 Articles
Maureen McCann Waldron graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism and then spent 22 years in corporate public relations. After receiving her master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton, she joined Andy Alexander, SJ, in Creighton’s Collaborative Ministry Office.

11 Comments on Take Courage

  1. I’m all alone and everyday I need the courage that you speak of. My husband passed away and I’m ill. So, it takes all the courage that I can muster just to get out of bed each day! I guess instead of praying for a healing, I’ll start to pray for courage!! Thank you for this great article.

  2. Today, the reflection is on Taking Courage. The Gospel is about the Good Samaritan who, the priest said, was courageous enough to get near the man who was robbed and beaten up. It required courage, he said, because the robber (s)could have been lurking in the shadows waiting for another victim. That is true, specially nowadays when criminal elements seem to be present almost everywhere. I am one of those who would prefer to be safe and go across the street where danger lurks.
    Thanks to the post today–it reminds me to be aware that Christ could have brought me there to experience His mercy.

  3. Likewise is your offering of a magnanimous inspiring reflection. Maureen,thank you. Jesus first called me into a ministry of healing to the underserved in the hospital setting. Then a screeching halt! A different Code, this time—Jesus calls again. Advanced cancer of the kidney, metastatic,no cure. My new ministry–simple presence in prayer,the little offering of daily struggles,into a larger hospital—a struggling world and it’s people.

    • Isabelita! Is this really YOU? Have been wondering about you and where you were. Looks like we both travel in the same, wonderful circles….Is there a way we can connect? Maureen has been an email friend for many years….Love her mucho!
      Ruth, a former chaplain friend.

  4. Facing Cancer for a fourth time takes undeniable courage! Having children and grandchildren shower you with their love and devotion is a gift from God to prepare your journey with the Lord at your side. Earth angels

  5. Thank you Maureen for writing this post! I think I tend to overthink what I need to do in my life when it’s really very simple: “doing everyday small things with big heart open to God and to others.”

  6. Thank you, Maureen. “A big heart” sounds doable. It turns ‘sacrifice’ into Grandma’s cookies on a snowy day.

  7. I think it’s because it’s Jesus calling me that I can ‘Take Courage’. It’s another way of saying ‘Trust in Jesus’.

    By the way, the image you chose was actually an advertising slogan for a beer here in the UK and I think the building was their brewery. This is a good reminder that we only find ‘false’ courage in ‘the bottle’ but also, as Ignatius warns, in the ‘riches’ of our status, possessions and self-pride.

  8. I echo Jim’s comment. I used to think that I needed to do something great for God but have learned that God wants me to be where I am doing small things with lots of love. Thank you for this post.

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