Patience, patience, and even more patience--- if ever there were a virtue most needed by all of us, undoubtedly it would be the virtue of patience. Waiting upon God's plans; we need patience; supporting painful sicknesses, patience must be at hand; persevering in trying family situations, patience is indispensable; "rolling with the bunches" in the contradictions and setbacks of daily life, we cannot make it without a huge dose of patience!
For that reason Jesus said, "BY YOUR PATIENCE, YOU WILL SAVE YOUR SOULS!" No better example for patience in the world than Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, and in the most clear portrayal, His passion, suffering and death! May His life be a splendid model for us to follow!
1. BEG FOR THE GRACE! All of us are put to the test every day in many ways, circumstances and life-situations. If taken off guard, we can easily blow up and explode and lose all the graces that God has in store for us! "Lord, grant may the grace to understand the opportunities you give me to practice patience and grow in that all-important virtue. Jesus Himself affirmed this truth, "By your patience you will save your souls."
2. UPSET PLANS: REALLY GOD'S PLANS! Being honest with ourselves, we all have our "own plans", which indeed are important! However, at times God can throw a monkey-wrench into those plans, throw a curve ball, when you are expecting a fastball, and surprise you with other plans. Faith and acceptance and conformity to His holy will! Never forget that God at times has His plans--- He is the "Master-mind" and they are much superior to our plans!
3. FAMILY AFFAIRS: THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY! Living in the context of the family gives all of countless chances to practice and learn the virtue of patience! Tardiness on the part of a spouse, a door slammed, the food not too well-cooked, the baby screaming non stop-- just to mention a few are wonderful moments of grace where we can practice patience!
4. GOLDEN RULE! When somebody is really trying your patience, call to mind the "Golden Rule" namely, to do to others what you would like them to do to you! This is the essence and summary of the Gospel. Indeed, we want people to be patient with us therefore, we should do the same to them!
5. BE PATIENT WITH GOD! All to frequently, it happens that we put time-limits on God's action in our lives. By nature, we are impatient and want things done quickly and according to our "Time-clock". Never forget, God is not a "Micro-wave" oven; nor is He a "Coke a Cola machine". The nature of these two are quick and efficient service! God sees the overall picture of our lives and can see that for us the best thing might be to have us wait patiently! We can see from "A" to "B"; whereas God can see from "A" to "Z" and beyond! God has created time and lives in the "Eternal now", but is keenly aware of the future and what is in store for us! Trust God's "Time-clock"!
6. BE PATIENT WITH SELF! St. Francis de Sales insists on being patient with ourselves and our falls. Anger and bitterness at ourselves when we fall is a hidden form of pride. Why? We really have an inflated perspective our "How holy we really are!" Venerable Father Pio Bruno Lanteri-- Founder of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary--- put it sweet and to the point in Latin, "Nunc coepi"-- meaning, "Now I will be begin!" Despite my misery, God's mercy has no limits!
7. CONTEMPLATE THE WAY OF THE CROSS AND JESUS' PASSION. Without doubt, one of the most efficacious means to foster and enhance the virtue of patience is to have before our eyes a model and that model is Jesus Christ, who called Himself, "The Way, the Truth and the Life." In a most formidable manner, contemplating Jesus carrying the cross, weighed down with the sins of humanity, falling under the weight of the cross--- according to tradition at least three times-- and then patiently arising to carry the cross to Calvary where He would be crucified, spurs us on to carry our crosses with utmost patience! " We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world."
8. HOPE! One of the virtues that is most lacking in the modern society is the virtue of HOPE! Hope is related to trust and confidence in an all-loving and Providential God. Jesus assures us with these soothing and consoling words: " My Father has you in the palm of His hand and nobody can snatch you from His hand..." Also, "I will be with you always even until the end of time... Still more, remember the Psalm of the Good Shepherd, "The Lord is my Shepherd and there is nothing I shall want...." With these abundant Biblical inspirations our hope should abound!
9. HEAVEN! Related to the virtue of "Hope" is the reality of heaven. If we can patiently carry our physical crosses, family crosses, moral and spiritual crosses, emotional crosses--- in whatever form or shape they may come in-- then we know that at the end of the path, Heaven awaits us! "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the mind of man, the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love Him." A few years of patiently bearing my cross and an eternity of joy with God, the angels and saints in heaven! Well worth it!
10. Nine months pregnant travelling on a donkey through cold, wind, and rain, rejected-- there was no room for you in the Inn, forced to flee to a foreign country where she did not know the people, the language, the culture, nor have any security, loosing her 12-year old Child for three days and three nights, sorrowfully following her Divine Son up the hill of Calvary, contemplating with her eyes and heart His many falls and bruises, and finally standing the longest three hours of her life underneath the cross as her Son shed the Precious Blood that she gave Him, and finally seeing and hearing Him expire--- all were manifestations of heroic patience. May Our Lady of Sorrows attain for us the necessary virtue of patience in this life so as to merit the crown of glory in heaven, calling to mind the words of her Divine Son: "By your patience you will save your souls."