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Friday of the fourteenth week after Pentecost

The practice of patience

From book "Divine Intimacy - Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day Of The Liturgical Year"... Presence of God O Lord, give me greater patience...

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Divine Intimacy

Fr. Gabriel

Presence of God

O Lord, give me greater patience that I may be able to endure more for Your love.


I. Patience is a virtue of primary importance and daily necessity. As we need bread to live, so every day, even every moment, we need patience, because every day and every moment brings with it its own trial. We become patient by making acts of patience, that is, by accustoming ourselves to accept peacefully all that contradicts us and makes us suffer. If, however, instead ofaccepting annoyances, we use every means possible to avoid them, we shall never acquire patience. For example, we may at our work come in contact with someone who clashes with us, or we may be given a difficult or disagreeable task; if under these or similar circumstances we do our utmost to free ourselves as soon as possible, asking for a change, we are depriving ourselves of a precious opportunity prepared for us by God Himself to make us practice the virtue ofpatience. In certain cases it is lawful and even a duty to represent our problems to our superiors and to ask humbly for a solution, but we should never insist on obtaining one at all costs. On the contrary, we should think that divine Providence has arranged these circumstances to help us acquire the patience we do not yet possess. St. Philip Neri once complained to Our Lord because he had to deal with an extremely insulting, disagreeable person. Our Lord replied to him interiorly, "Philip, you have asked for patience. Here is the means of acquiring it."

God will surely give us the virtue we ask of Him, but only on condition that we make use of the means He gives us, and apply ourselves to practice that virtue with the help of His grace. Whoever wishes to become a saint will not be anxious to avoid opportunities for practicing patience, but will welcome them, recognizing in them the means offered by God for his sanctification. And how can a mere creature dare wish to make any change in what has been ordered "in measure, and number, and weight" (Sa. 11, 21) by God’s infinite wisdom?

II. God can draw good out ofevil; therefore, He can, and in fact does, use our faults and even our sins and the sins of others, to make us practice patience : patience with ourselves, seeing ourselves so frail, so imperfect, so prone to fall, yet humbly recognizing our faults and bearing their consequences peacefully; patience with others, being indulgent toward their frailties, compassionating the weaknesses of each one, and accepting without irritation the discomfort and sufferings caused by their faults. For example, when anyone disturbs or provokes us, we must not stop to consider his manner of behaving, for that would rouse our indignation, making it more difficult to practice patience. Instead, we should turn our gaze away from the creature to fix it upon God who permits this contradiction to make us advance in virtue. VVe should also avoid complaining about our sufferings to others, or even to ourselves. Complaints always make the heart bitter, rendering it ill-disposed to accept trials calmly. "To suffer and be silent for You, my God" (T.M.) is the motto of the patient soul who wishes to conform its conduct to that of Jesus in His Passion: "He was offered... and He opened not His mouth” (Is. 53, 7). If we feel the need of a little help in bearing a trial, let us speak of it only to those who will encourage 11s to suffer for the love of God, and not to those who will give us merely human consolation and sympathy, thereby nourishing our resentment toward those who make us suffer.

All the saints were eager for the occasions of suffering which we so eagerly avoid. Let us consider St. Jane Frances de Chantal who chose to live for many years in her father-in-law’s house, amidst the disrespect and calumnies of a servant who also attempted to endanger her children’s welfare. Let us think of St. John of the Cross who being free to choose the monastery in which he would spend his last days, gave the preference to one whose superior was hostile to him. These are examples of the heroism of the saints, to be sure — but heroism from which no soul of good will is excluded and to which everyone is called by God, heroism for which we too, if we really wish to be generous, must prepare ourselves by lovingly accepting everything which causes us suffering.


"O Lord, we want to serve and please You, yes, but we do not want to suffer anything. Yet we must be much more pleasing to You when after Your example and out of love for You, we endure suffering in Your service. Suffering is so noble and precious, O eternal Word, that when You were in the bosom of the Father, superabounding in all the riches and delights ofParadise but unadorned with the robe of suffering, You came to earth in order to clothe Yourself with it. You are God and cannot be deceived; since You have chosen stark suffering, I too desire it for love of You. I beseech You, therefore, Lord, to permit me to experience this suffering which is unmixed with any consolation, and by the confidence I have in Your goodness, I trust that You will grant me this grace before I die.

"But in order to obtain profit from tribulations, teach me to accept them in total conformity to Your will; otherwise, they will be a great and unbearable burden. When, however, a soul abandons itself entirely in the arms of Your will, then it finds strength in the midst of its sorrows, and even if You leave it in darkness for a time, very quickly will its sadness be changed into joy, so that, for no delight in the world would it exchange this suffering.

"O blessed, happy, and glorious is he who suffers for love of You, O eternal Word, for—shall I dare to say it?—as long as we are here below, it is a greater thing to suffer for You than to possess You, because possessing You, we can still lose You, but if we suffer for love of You, it will admit us to eternal life where we can never lose You" (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).

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