Lately, I have been asking the Lord for the grace of patience. It seems that many of us have lost a sense for the importance of this virtue in our lives. By patience I do not mean quelling one’s anger during rush hour traffic nor do I mean waiting to download a document on a slow internet connection. In short, I am not talking about patience needed for a short temper. No; rather, I mean a long-term patience that requires our trust as we wait for God. That is, the patience of waiting for God to reveal our primary vocation or the patience to allow God to orchestrate the circumstances, timing and details of our next major life decision or just the next turn on our life’s journey.
As I was thinking about this kind of long-term patience that we often seem to neglect or forget about, I saw more and more instances of this kind of patience – the patience parents must have as they raise their children to be persons of faith and love, the time of Advent and Lent in the liturgical calendar which are times of waiting and patience, and how Christians should live their whole lives in patience as we wait for the second coming of our Lord.
How can we learn more about this virtue of long-term patience? Here are two examples to ponder:
Our Lady. As the name of this blog indicates, we must ponder like Mary! Much of her life was spent trustingly waiting on the Lord. After receiving the message of the Angel Gabriel and giving her “Fiat” Mary had to patiently wait as the child in her womb slowly grew until it was time for Him to be born. She had great patience as she watched her Son as a child, knowing that he was destined for the fall and rise of many. She waited as her Son was on trial. She patiently endured the suffering of her Son and trustingly waited at the foot of the cross. Her patience did not run dry during the three days between His death and resurrection. She had patience until He called her home and she was assumed into Heaven and reunited by His side again.
The Farmer. Think of the farmer and how much patience he must have! He works hard planting the seed, nourishing his crop and waiting…..waiting….waiting. He waits as the seeds grow into that which he can harvest. He labors greatly for the sake of the harvest. Does he know that the harvest will be abundant? He does not. A million different things could occur which would ruin and destroy his crop. But he trusts. Yes, the farmer trusts and he waits. In the end he bears a fruitful harvest.
I, too, must have this patience. I, too, must wait. I, too, must trust. I must trust God that he will reveal His plan at the right time and at the right moment. I may want to enjoy the harvest now but now is not the time to rejoice in the harvest. Now is the time to patiently and trustingly labor, knowing that if I am faithful my life will bear a fruitful harvest.
So, be patient. Don’t be afraid to wait.