Patience is a Virtue…

Patience..

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered* for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” 1 Peter 2:21

I begin with the confession that, patience has been a lifelong challenge. It always seemed that the more that I sought after peace, quiet and tranquility, and the times when I desired it most, that was when the greatest challenges to that peace would come about.

In my younger years I did not suffer fools lightly, and I had a rather short length of patience which means that this particular cross, and blessing, is a journey I am painfully aware of, and painfully close to.

You may ask why is this a blessing as well as a cross. I grew up in a very “black and white world”. This meaning that things were either right or they were not right. Yes, was yes… No was no. Your word was your bond, and that word was held against your personal honor and the honor of your family name.

Growing up, these were the things that were important. God, family, friends, honor, and grace. These ideas, as we got older were weighed against the hardships of life, and of a world who increasingly did not hold these same ideas in as high regard.

This was where the journey began.. or was it ?

As Franciscans we love our Lord, and we love Him, in many ways. Some of those are germain to this discussion. We love Jesus and we praise Him poor and crucified.

Jesus was, and is, the very model of patience. Think of Him… Jesus, who us bore every measure of patience for you and for I.

Jesus, who is the Son of the Living God, who is the King of Heaven, who for love of you and I came to earth, not as a King, or a royal of any sort. He came to Earth as a slave, a slave to poverty and to a human existance. He came to Earth not in luxury, but in complete poverty. He had no home, and no warm bed to be layed in. He came not into royal robes to wrap Him and keep him warm. He came to a barn, born with the lowest ,born with animals.

He was wrapped in those wretched rags, instead of the finery He deserved. He CHOSE to come humbly… patiently. He suffered this confined, lowly human existance. Even when he first arrived humanity was already trying to kill Him. Already despised.

Jesus almost from birth lived his life with no stable home. He was moved from place to place, to avoid the hatred of the world. Jesus, King of the Universe, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, had to bear with the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph and earthly parents who did not always understand that He ” had to be about His fathers work”.

When he went about His Earthly preaching ministry, He was insulted, and people tried to lay traps for Him to try and discredit Him. The world hated Him for the message he was bringing.

Jesus suffered in His holy passion. When He labored with a heavy heart knowing that His time was near. He suffered when His friend betrayed Him. He suffered when He was taken away in ropes. He suffered being slapped. He suffered being spit upon. He suffered the taunts and jeers of the people who turned on Him. He suffered then He was scourged , whipped and beaten unto the point where He barely resembled His human self.

Jesus suffered when they tortured every part of His body, and then He suffered forcing Him to carry the burden of the instrument of His own execution… His cross. He suffered carrying that cross through the streets.. He suffered while these people tore off His clothes. He suffered when they put thorns on His head… He suffered when they drove iron nails into His body and into the wood.. He suffered when they drove the lance through His holy side.

Jesus suffered every moment of agony until His body could no longer contain the soul of this King.

Jesus suffered through a death reserved for the very worst criminals. He suffered this agonizing death in a place reserved for the most despised with the bones of others who had died there laying around.

Jesus did all of this for you and for me, for love of you and for love of me.

Jesus loves us without measure, so much that He suffered, died and rose again.
Jesus suffered all this and yet He STILL carrys us patiently. Forgiveness for the sin of the world. Your sin and mine. Jesus suffers, and yet He still loves us without end.

Jesus loves us so much that He shares Himself in the sacrifice of Holy Mass. Giving of HImself to us… through us…. with us… in us.. for us.

Jesus showed us how to be patient, and how to live a holy life. Jesus gave us the sacrament of reconcilliation to forgive our sins anew, AND still teaching us how to be patient.

One final admonition, brothers and sisters, Do not allow yourselves to be deluded, or misled. The sin of pride, is often covered in the illusion of patience.

When we are injured, hurt, suffering, we must ask ourselves why we hurt, and what is the root of the matter. We must search our very deepest hearts, and
go into deep upon deep. We must know that “we are what we are before God, and nothing else”, and then relate that knowledge to the point of our patience.

We have trials, and tribulation in our lives as a way to teach us.. Like sandpaper is used to bring out beauty in wood, our trials, if we are wise, are used to teach us to be
more patient. Patient with others, and patient with ourselves, and to teach others.

For the gifts you are given… even patience… is not yours ! You were given that gift as well, as a steward, to be used and shared for the benefit of your brothers and sisters..

May God give you the gift of His peace…. and patience !

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