Patience is a virtue and we must earn it through our actions. Love your neighbors, do not get discouraged by yourself, and trust in our God’s plan for you - you will find that in doing so you will be rewarded for your waiting and sacrifice.
“Patience is a virtue.” This is a phrase I’ve said and heard at least a thousand times whether I was waiting for my food at a restaurant, wondering when I’d hear back about a job interview, or even sitting at a red light in an uber. When we say this we recognize that patience does not always come easily - it takes time and trust. Yet, despite the difficulty, we are still called to be patient in our relationships with those around us, ourselves, and with God. We read in 1 Samuel that lack of patience can cause you to miss blessings. Choosing patience is a vital part of trusting our God. It is through practicing patience that we cultivate love and forge our way down the path to sainthood.
Called to Love
We are called to be patient with one another. The call to patience first starts with love. We are called to love one another as God loves each of us, a love impossible without patience towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. In these days of quarantine we can find this to be particularly trying. Feeling trapped in the house can often lead us to take our frustrations out on those around us. It is in these moments when we are exhausted, frustrated, or worried that patience becomes the last thing on our minds – but it should be the first. Patience leads to peace. As the body of the church, we are asked to, “go in peace” at the end of every mass. This means leaving church with the intention of creating peace in our personal lives and in the lives of those around us. However, there cannot be peace where there is no love. Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In scripture we read,
Love is patient. Love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
We are called to love and to truly love someone we must practice patience. Love is more than just a word – it is brought to fruition through our actions. This can mean biting our tongue when we are annoyed with our siblings, remaining calm when it feels like no one is listening to us, or using gentle reminders when we find that a task has not been done although it feels as if we’ve asked a million times. The mass urges us to love God by acting against any and everything that gets in the way of loving one another. Jesus is not only present in the body and blood at mass, but also in those around us. When we are patient and choose love we not only practice an act of love towards our Lord but we choose to live out the mass in our daily lives.
Called to Sainthood
Just as we are called to be patient with others, we are also called to be patient with ourselves. We live in a sinful world. We are not capable of perfection, although many of us struggle to create a similar phenomena - myself included. In the last few weeks I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend confession in a few forms. In each case I found the priest reminding me to be patient with myself. This is easier said than done – I often find myself beating myself up for falling into the same sins. I desire to be better, but detachment proves to be a slow and frustrating process. It is in these times that I remind myself that I am only human and therefore I am subject to sin. Remember, God does not expect perfection of you. We will all struggle with different vices and just like any good thing, it will take time for us to find freedom, peace, or healing. This is why we must practice patience. Jesus reminds us that we must forgive those who offend us not seven times, but 70 times seven times – this includes ourselves. Even though we must be constantly fighting to overcome our sinful tendencies, we should not let ourselves fall into impatience or discouragement. We will fall again and again, but it is when we choose to be patient and get back up time and time again that we will learn the value in starting anew. We are fighting our way down the path to sainthood – it is not meant to be an easy journey, but a rewarding one.
Called to Trust
Finally, the most important relationship in which we must practice patience is our relationship with God. Have you ever prayed to God and found that your prayers were not answered as you asked of Him? Or perhaps you prayed for healing in a time of sickness and it felt as though God was indifferent to your situation. You may have even begged God to move mountains and woken up the next day to find they had not moved a millimeter. These “unanswered” prayers can often lead us to feel as if our God is uninterested in our trials and tribulations. We can become impatient with God when we commit ourselves to prayer and acts of faith to seemingly no avail. However, we must remember our God is a God of infinite love - His wisdom and understanding rise far above our own. We may only see the waves around us, but God sees the entire ocean. He responds to our prayers in the way that he knows will be the best for our conversion, sanctification, and eternal salvation. He reminds us in scripture,
“I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Although his will may not always align with ours, we must trust in his providence, knowing that all he does for each one of us has our best in mind. Thus, we must strive to be patient with him, to completely trust in the path he has shaped for our lives.
When my patience runs thin, I have found that turning to Our Lady brings me peace. Imagine kneeling at the foot of the cross as your son drew his final breaths, entrusting yourself to God’s plan, while suffering the pain and agony that came with seeing your son crucified. Needless to say, our Heavenly Mother understands the difficulty and reward in practicing patience very well. I encourage you to entrust yourself to her love and guidance when you feel lost and impatient. I also encourage you to pray for those who create cracks in your patience. Just as Jesus did on the cross, forgive others when they do not know what they are doing. Entering into a state of prayer amidst our frustrations can bring peace into our hearts and give us time to think about our responding actions and words. Lastly, choosing humility can lead to patience. Humbling ourselves with reminders that we are not perfect just as those who irritate us are not can help us to act in compassion and kindness.
So today I challenge you to practice patience. We know that God calls us to love and to love fully we must be patient. When you feel yourself getting frustrated or upset: say a prayer. Ask God to stand with you and put peace into your heart. Patience is a virtue and we must earn it through our actions. Love your neighbors, do not get discouraged by yourself, and trust in our God’s plan for you - you will find that in doing so you will be rewarded for your waiting and sacrifice. You will encounter all the blessings God has planned for you if you are patient and trust that God is leading you to them.