If you are patient… 07May2017

People like to say that patience is a virtue. Is it? The Catechism (par.1803) tells us, A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions. The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.

There are seven virtues—three Theological Virtues and four Cardinal Virtues. Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal,” all others are grouped around them. They are: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance (1805). The three theological virtues are Faith, Hope & Charity (1813).

The human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man’s faculties for participation in the divine nature for the theological virtues relate directly to God.(1812). The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character (1813).

Where, then does Patience come into play? It is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity” (1832).

St. Peter lends new meaning to patience when he says, If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God… When He was insulted, He returned no insult; when He suffered, he did not threaten. If you’ve ever tried hard to be patient  and failed, then you know how difficult it is. We need God’s help. We might be able to control our anger with the virtue of Temperance but we need grace to be patient and when we forgive and bear wrongs patiently, as Jesus did, then we are performing what the Church calls, a Spiritual Act of Mercy (2447).

There are no shortcuts or easy ways to be like Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Thieves and robbers take shortcuts. To be like Jesus we need God’s Grace, especially when it comes to Patience and Mercy.

Deacon Richard


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