Since the beginning of the Lenten season this year, I started watching short video clips from “FORMED: Lenten Reflection”. The Augustine Institute Studios has produced a series of daily reflections on Lent (each approximately 2 – 4 minutes long) on Christian Catholic spirituality. There are many materials available with Catholic content and perspective, such as video-based study programs, audio presentations, movies and eBooks. Do subscribe to “formed.org” and enter parish code: JG2JDZ
On Day 13 of Lent, there was a short video clip by Dr. Tim Gray, President of Augustine Institute on a remarkable virtue – patience. He referred to “patient endurance”, referring to the Book of Revelation chapters 2 & 3 – “Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial…” (Rev 3:10). In the Jerusalem Bible, the author used the word – “perseverance” instead. Endurance and perseverance are translated as “patience”. As we go through trials, we are called to be patient and to persevere. Dr. Gray highlighted two questions pertaining to patience from his discussion.
- What do we mean by patience?
- How can we grow in patience?
Lent is a great opportunity to reflect on and practice the virtue of patience. Like many virtues, patience is a hard one to practice. For good and lasting relationships, we need patience. Whether it is with our children, our spouse, our parish community, our colleagues in the workplace, or our neighbours. We need patience in dealing with people – “Be patient with everyone,” (1 Thes 5:14).
It is easy to say but it is tough to do as we are not a patient people. We get impatient when things go wrong. We get impatient when we are running out of time. We get impatient when there is no instant gratification. We live in a world where everything needs to happen immediately. We sometimes get impatient for what seems like no reason at all!
Patience is in our mind set – our way of thinking and feeling. We tend to get irritated or easily angered by those who always disrupt our plans. The Bible tells us that patience is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). It starts as a little seed and it takes time to grow and mature. We should cherish this fruit of the Holy Spirit, which God has given to us. Patience is the ability to remain calm in the midst of trials and tribulations because we know God is in control.
Patience is a Christian virtue. The heart of patience is love… “Love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Cor 13). Patience is an act of love. We can learn to be patient when we trust in the power, strength and encouragement, which comes from God. On our own, we may find it tough to be patient, but with Christ all things are possible.
Is patience a strong quality and virtue in our lives? Christians are called to be patient. We should not grumble about another or have grudges or complain about others. It is not part of our nature. Are you a patient person? We will never become patient over night. We need to be patient with ourselves. Lent is not so much a diet plan, but the Church is asking us to exercise patience in our way. Let’s watch what we say and how we say it. We should restrain our anger and irritation. We should deal with others with the same patience and compassion that God has shown to us.
In this season of Lent, we should learn and act on what God says about patience, and trust God to give us the grace to be patient. Be patient with ourselves and with others as how God has always been with us! Trust in God and let Him be in our lives during this season of Lent.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy