Oct 27, 2015

Patience - and hurry up about it!

"Patience is a virtue." So the saying goes and don't we all wish we had more of it?  "Lord, give me patience and I want it right now." Such a prayer may bring a smile to our face but it reveals both sides of the coin.  Yet, how would you define patience?

Waiting for something or someone without complaining about how long a response is taking?  Keeping silent when a person speaks and you would rather jump in mid-conversation with your own opinion because you disagree with them?  Gifting someone generously and waiting for their "thank you?"  To pray intensely for something and quietly wait for God's response no matter how long it may be?  To be confronted by someone you find difficult to be around and to quietly and respectfully listen to them? To endure while you wait with hope for a son or daughter, a spouse to return to the faith?  

In such cases we find "patience" a difficult virtue to practice.  It may feel more like a test of endurance than virtue.  But is God patient with us?  

Indeed, the whole story of salvation, beginning with the Book of Genesis is a testimony to divine patience.  God is repeatedly tries to get our attention and we repeatedly seem to turn away or at best simply not get it.  Yet, we have a God who endures our unfaithfulness, our naivety, our hot and cold response to his love.  Why?  Because he desires that we be saved.  "His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 136).  

Now we may not be capable of such divine patience but we can certainly practice this virtue in our daily lives.  Those who wait patiently with trust and hope may indeed be surprised at what they find at the end of it all.  

We must be patient with ourselves, I believe, and be open to what God has in store for us.  The only way to practice patience is to wait for it.  Not an easy feat in this age of high speed everything and instant gratification.  

The Gospel for today (Tuesday) reminds us that growth happens in our life but it doesn't happen instantly.  Like a mustard seed, much happens below the surface before the sprout is seen above the ground.  God's plan is not our plan, his grace is a gift, yet the gift of faith germinates quietly and mysteriously.  Our responsibility is to till the soil and feed the plant lovingly while God does his great work in us.  

If someone tells you they find you more loving, more kind, more prayerful, more patient, give thanks for God's work is being done in us.  

The Gospel below for today is a wonderful image:

Lk 13: 18-21 

"Jesus said, 'What is the kingdom of God like?' 
To what can I compare it? 
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush. 
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches. 

To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 
It is like yeast that a woman took 
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened."