Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit- Eighth Hymn of Virtue: Patience

Eighth Hymn of Virtue: Patience

It is my belief that a lack of patience is one of the most common stumbling blocks to spiritual people who wish to progress in holiness. It is a struggle to endure patiently what God sends us even for those not spiritually inclined. We are a fast-paced, instant gratification oriented society. It takes extra-ordinary grace to remain patient and loving in our family life, place of business, and in the market place.

Patience and peace go together and we know that peace of heart flows from a life of faithful prayer and meditation. If we are at peace we prepare ourselves for the moments God wishes to test us.

St. Therese is an example of someone who prepared herself to practice patience. She says:

At meditation I was for a long time always near a sister who never stopped fidgeting, with either her rosary or something else. Perhaps I was the only one who heard her, as my ears are very sharp, but I could not tell you how it irritated me. What I wanted to do was to turn and stare at her until she stopped her noise, but deep down I knew it was better to endure it patiently-first for the love of God and, secondly, so as not to upset her. So, I made no fuss, though sometimes I was soaked with sweat under the strain and my prayer was nothing but the prayer of suffering.

Story of a soul, Chapter 10

We can see in the life of the saints the same struggles that we have with attaining virtue. If bearing her suffering patiently caused St. Therese to sweat, who knows what I will have to suffer to remain patient and loving in my response to the world and my neighbor.

Fr. Tanquerey in the Spiritual Life teaches that the degrees of patience correspond to the three stages of the spiritual life:

The First Stage:

*At the beginning suffering is accepted as coming from God; without murmur, without resentment, in hope of heavenly rewards.

The Second Stage:

* Patience, in its second degree,makes us eager to embrace suffering, in union with Jesus Christ, and in order to make us more like that Divine Model.

The Third Stage:

*This leads to the third degree of patience, the desire and the love of suffering for the sake of God Whom one wishes to glorify, and for the sake of souls, for whose sanctification one wants to labor.

Spiritual Life-#1089, #1090, #1091

The Church teaches that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to bear sufferings patiently. Let us strive to be merciful to ourselves and to others by bearing the small things of life in patience. Why should we let these things disturb our peace of heart?

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) teaches us to not go looking for crosses. She teaches us that we should accept the cross that is presented to us each day. If we want to progress in holiness of life we must be found faithful in small things--be able to endure patiently the small irritations and annoyances of people and situations before the Lord will entrust us with a deeper union with him. Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!

Rosemarie, ocds

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