During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta earlier this week, the Pope spoke about a virtue that doesn’t come easy to most of us – patience – but how necessary it is to prevent ourselves from becoming “closed off.”
Vatican News is reporting on the sermon which was based on the First Reading of the day which was taken from the Letter of St. James, “The testing of your faith produces patience.”
But this patience does not mean resignation or defeat, the Pope explained. Instead, patience is a virtue for those who are “on the journey,” who are moving forward, rather than for those who have stopped or have become closed off.
“When you are on the journey, many things happen that are not always good. For me, the attitude of parents when a child is born sick or disabled says a lot about patience as a virtue on the journey. “But thank God that [our child] is alive!” [They might say.] These are people with patience. And they bear the life of that child with love, even to the end. And it is not easy care for a disabled or sick child year after year after year… but the joy of having that child gives them the strength to go forward. And this is patience, not resignation – that is, it is the virtue that comes when one is on the journey.”
Patience carries with it a certain sense of responsibility because it signifies the bearing of suffering, rather than letting it go. And this suffering is borne with joy and gladness for those who are patient.
“Patience means ‘bearing with,’ not entrusting problems to another, who bears the difficulty: ‘I bear it, this is my difficulty, my problem. Is something causing me suffering? Eh, certainly! But I bear it.’ To bear with it,” the pope said.
“And patience is also the wisdom of being able to dialogue with the limits. There are many limits in life, but impatience doesn’t want them, it ignores them because it doesn’t know how to dialogue with limits. There is some kind of fantasy of omnipotence, or of laziness, we don’t know,” the pope continued.
The patience St. James is referring to is not just a counsel for Christians, it is a characteristic of our Heavenly Father who has “led and carried His stubborn people forward each time they strayed one way or the other.”
And so God shows His patience with us by “accompanying us” and “waiting for the right time” just as He waited for the right time for His Son to “enter into patience,” take up His mission and offer Himself in atonement for our sins.
Our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East, who have been “chased away” from their homes simply because they are Christians, are a perfect example of this sacred virtue.
“And yet they are determined to remain Christians: they have embraced patience just as the Lord embraced patience,” the pope said.
He suggested that we ask the Lord to “give to your people patience to bear their trials” because we are so often impatient.
“When things don’t go our way, we complain. But, step back for a moment, think about the patience of God the Father, embrace patience, as Jesus did. Patience is a beautiful virtue. Let us ask the Lord for it.”
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