I am always surprised when the Holy Spirit “pokes” me to enlighten me about my faux pas – it must give my Beloved a really good belly laugh!
On one occasion as I prepared a slow-cooker dinner, I gathered and browned the meat, peeled the vegetables and put all the various ingredients in the crock pot. I thought, “This raw food looks absolutely gross. It looks like the compost pile I have outside! Patience, Geralyn! This will be a delicious meal!” I began to prepare homemade bread to go with the stew I was cooking. As I put the dough aside to rise, once again, I thought, “Patience!”
An hour later, I looked at the crock pot; no change! The dough had just begun to rise. I felt the child within me scream, “Patience, Geralyn! I SO want that and I want it NOW!” I could hear a far-off chuckle and a whisper within my heart: “It doesn’t work that way. It’s a process and it takes a lifetime.”
The lesson the Holy Spirit reminded me of that day is one we all need to re-learn now and then. Patience. Max Lucado, in his book Grace for the Moment, writes, “I choose patience … I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.”1
I can hear you say, “Yeah, yeah. My mom used to demand patience from me as a child. It’s still hard and I still am no closer to acquiring it.” I can’t agree more with that sentiment!
In response to these ponderings, I searched “the virtue of patience” online. One of my search results gave me an article from The Rosary and Light and Life Magazine, originally printed back in 1994, entitled, “The Virtue of Patience.”2 Upon reading it, I was led to pause, pray and reflect.
According to the author, every virtue has two specific qualities: a natural one and a supernatural one.
The natural aspect of a virtue comes to us through the use of our reason. The supernatural aspect comes through the use of reason that has been enlightened by faith.
The author goes on to explain, “The word “patience” is derived from the Latin word pati, which means to suffer, to endure, to bear. Already that tells us much about the nature, meaning and necessity of the virtue of patience.”
Please read those words over again. When something happens to us that is disagreeable, annoying, or irritating, this virtue gives us the strength to control the harsh feelings and impulses that we might feel or want to do. This virtue changes those snarky actions and words into something different; something other “worldly.”
Look at it this way. The supernatural virtue of patience is an act of love for God shown by the disregard of one’s own circumstances or feelings at any given time. It is another form of self-gift. It’s the ability to profoundly trust in the providence of God, the belief in the core of our being that nothing happens to us that God doesn’t foresee, allow, or bring good out of. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
This is in stark contrast to the spirit of the world that screams “NO!” to every adversity, pain or inconvenience. In short, it is the ability to stand wherever you are, through whatever is happening and look toward heaven knowing that God is there!
Why am I going on and on about patience? I believe that it is THE virtue that we need as we venture out from sheltering in place – both the natural and supernatural kind.
Face it, we are not patience people, or a patient society. Didn’t we “invent” fast food and the assembly line? Technology was supposed to save us time so we can do more things! Our lives were lived at a breathtaking speed. That was many months ago!
Yes, we are American, but you who are reading this are also Catholic Christians, who stand in time with our eyes facing heaven. Patience grows when we don’t turn away from what we experience at our feet, but love as we live in heaven. This stance gives us the grace to become leaven within the society that demands, “Give it to me now!”
Is this really possible? Yes! It demands to live a life steeped in prayer, meditation on the life of Christ as well as His passion. In a sense, He is the crock pot, changing the hardness of our life into a savory meal. All it requires is patience and time!
1Lucado, Max. Grace For The Moment. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2000. Preface.
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness
A Crock Pot of Patience
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