According to local history, the lions got their names in the 1930s when then Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia suggested New Yorkers needed to nurture patience and fortitude to make it through the Great Depression.
As I thought about these two New York City landmarks today, it occurred to me that patience and fortitude are even more crucial today than they had been during LaGuardia's time.
Fortitude is among the seven Biblical virtues. Patience, on the other hand, is not. Nevertheless, patience has become a veritable virtue itself via the commonly used proverb, which apparently first appeared in the Middle English poem Piers Plowman, presumably written by William Langland. Biblical or not, I consider both patience and fortitude to be essential virtues today - virtues every serious Christian should strive to espouse and project.
To be virtuous is to think and act in a way that clearly shows high moral standards and integrity, particularly when confronted by temptation or adversity. To be virtuous is to declare goodness, righteousness, honesty, and dignity to be non-negotiables, especially when confronted by a world that has become inherently evil, wicked, dishonest, and subjugated.
Patience attests to the ability to maintain a positive perspective on mortal life, to resist the urge to reaction, and to hold off on the making of impulsive and, therefore, potentially bad decisions, while fortitude affirms strength of spirit in the face of adversity, danger, and discomfort.
The ramped up demonic pressure we are experiencing today is a direct challenge to both patience and fortitude. At one end we face an increasingly uncertain and unpredictable future, one wrought with increased levels of negative stress, disconcerting events, and unsettling options. At the other end, we live in a time when the forces of evil continuously work at the dissolution of our resolve, courage, and endurance.
The best way to counter all of the above is to fortify our patience, which in turn will fortify our prudence - the ability to control and govern our thoughts and actions. The more we are able to resist push-button tactics, the more we will be able to draw on discernment and wisdom. The more we are able to withstand external triggers, manipulations, coercion, and persuasion, the more we will be able to embrace internal Divine communication.
Any demonstration of patience in response to demonic pressure will inevitably test our fortitude - our ability to courageously and resolutely face danger and difficulty with perseverance and determination.
Those orchestrating the demonic pressure want nothing more than for us to rush out and do something rash, or - even better - just cave in upon ourselves and throw up our hands in surrender.
The best way to beat the pressure is to do neither, and the best way to do neither is to exhibit patience and fortitude.
Patience and fortitude are not only essential virtues, they are also potential spiritual weapons for the side of Good. Consistent patience and fortitude in the face demonic pressure throws the pressure back upon the demons - which is exactly where it should be and exactly where it should remain.