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Patience

To be obe­di­ent in all things to God requires the virtue of patience. Saint Paul lists this virtue as one-of the “fruits of the Spir­it.” (Gala­tians 5:22) Christ Him­self in His hum­ble obe­di­ence to God was exceed­ing­ly patient.

To be patient lit­er­al­ly means to suf­fer and endure. It means to wait on the Lord through all tribu­la­tions and tri­als with courage and hope. It means to put up with ones self and oth­ers, grow­ing grad­u­al­ly in the grace of God through the dai­ly effort to keep His com­mand­ments and to accom­plish His will. Only those who are patient, accord­ing to Christ, bring forth fruit from the seeds of God’s Word that are sown in their hearts.

And as for that in the good soil, they are these who, hear­ing the Word, hold it fast in an hon­est and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

In times of per­se­cu­tion, when Chris­tians are deliv­ered up to answer for Christ, being “hat­ed by all for my name’s sake,” the Lord coun­sels His fol­low­ers: “in patience, pos­sess ye your souls,” which means, “through your endurance you will gain your lives.” (Luke 21:19)

Be patient, there­fore, brethren, until the com­ing of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the pre­cious fruit of the earth, being patient- over it until it receives the ear­ly and late rain. You also be patient. Estab­lish your hearts, for the com­ing of the Lord is at hand. Do not grum­ble… against one anoth­er, that you may not be con­demned; behold the Judge is stand­ing at the doors. As an exam­ple of suf­fer­ing and patience… take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call those hap­py who were stead­fast. You have heard of the patience of Job, and you have seen the pur­pose of the Lord, how the Lord is com­pas­sion­ate and mer­ci­ful. (James 5:7–11)

Too often peo­ple embark­ing on the spir­i­tu­al life for­get that patience is a virtue, and that, because of man’s free­dom, the effort to cleanse one’s life from sin is tire­some and long. Every­thing is expect­ed at once, with lit­tle striv­ing and small effort.

Too often, also, peo­ple who wish to be patient for­get that the virtue is a grace of God and a fruit of the Spir­it. They think that they can attain patience with them­selves and with oth­ers by will pow­er alone; by ratio­nal­iza­tions and human con­sid­er­a­tions. Such peo­ple nev­er find peace for their souls.

The virtue of patience is found in the stead­fast endurance giv­en by God. It is the pow­er to “stay on the cross” no mat­ter what, doing only the will of the Lord. Patience is unit­ed with faith, hope, love, humil­i­ty and obe­di­ence, which alone brings the strength to go on. It must be renewed dai­ly through fast­ing, prayer and com­mu­nion with God in the Church. It is found when one trains one­self to remem­ber God, to abide in Christ and to see all things in the light of the King­dom of God. If one wish­es to be patient, one must be unit­ed with Christ and live by the pow­er of the Spir­it. Accord­ing to the spir­i­tu­al teach­ers, there is no oth­er way.

No temp­ta­tion has over­tak­en you that is not com­mon to man. God is faith­ful, and He will not let you be tempt­ed beyond your strength, but with the temp­ta­tion will also pro­vide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (I Corinthi­ans 10:13)

Cast your bur­den upon the Lord, and He will sus­tain you; He will nev­er per­mit the right­eous to be moved. (Psalm 55.22; cf. I Peter 5:7)