Finish Well

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”

— Revelation 2:11

In Greek mythology, Orpheus, the golden voiced, loses his beautiful wife, Eurydice, and so with lyre in hand he makes his way down through the darkness of the infernal regions in quest of the lost Eurydice, singing his plaintive melodies.

As he goes forth and fills the chambers of that nether world with the rich sonorous tones of his plaintive cry, Tantalus stops his futile bending after the receding waters and listens for a while. Even the cheeks of the furies are wet with tears as they hear the poignant plea of Orpheus for his lost wife.

At last, Orpheus reaches Pluto, the god of this nether world, who finally condescends to allow him to take his wife back on one condition: that he will not set his eyes upon her until they fully reach the land of light above. They set off, Orpheus before, and his beautiful wife, Eurydice, behind.

They pass one obstacle and one danger after another. All hell holds its breath as they make their way tortuously upward, ever closer, until finally they can see the light. So elated is Orpheus, he turns to tell his wife that soon they will be there—and in that moment, all his labor is lost and Eurydice vanishes.

That ancient and familiar myth teaches us a great truth: that it is only he who perseveres until the end who shall be saved. It does not really matter how well we start. It is the finish that counts. As the Apostle Paul said: “You ran well. Who hindered you…” (Galatians 5:7).

Lord, give me the strength to finish well. If I have previously allowed obstacles to hinder my race, as happened to the Galatians, please forgive me and then give me the grace to get up again and continue with the race you have marked out for me…