The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that 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." (CCC 1832). The Bible further reveals the patience God has for us. God surely has patience with his children. He tolerates our defects and allows humanity to continue populating the earth in spite of our overall poor conduct.
It is the Divine Spirit who is patient with us and who now comes to us. From the Holy Spirit we must learn to have with others the same patience God has with us. The book of Proverbs teaches us: “It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities” (Proverbs 16: 32). In his letters, Saint Paul insists again and again on the fundamental virtues of self-restraint and tolerance. He invites us to cover ourselves with patience, to bear with one another out of love, to mutually forgive each other (Colossians 3: 12; Ephesians 4: 2; 1 Thessalonians 5: 14; 1 Corinthians 13: 4).
Patience with Loved Ones
We all have had the following experience: The closer we are to a person, friction, annoyance and attitudes which are irritating increase. Let us consider our spouses, our children, our relatives who live with us, our coworkers, and our friends. The sincere relationship and the basic affectation towards the other person are maintained, but permanent esteem is tarnished with daily disgust.
A great deal can be done to lessen friction and improve living together: dialog, opening up, being truthful, correcting one another and accepting one another. A great deal can be done, but it all has to be based on the fundamental essence of patience, tolerance, and pure and simple humanly bearing with one another because in the final analysis, we know that the situation will never be ideal for ourselves or for others.
What we have to do, therefore, is to overcome the inevitable setbacks with anticipated resignation.
Things take time. Fruits ripen slowly. Nature takes its course and the seasons cannot be hurried. The same thing happens with the cultivation of the Spirit. Time is needed. Patience is needed, until the Holy Spirit gradually converts us, a little bit at a time, into masters of patience.
Patience on Listening
All those who surround us are, each and everyone of them, like an angel from God who brings us his message. How do I maintain my attitude for listening to the word of God which comes to me by means of another person? First of all, through love, he or she is a word of God for me, but also through his/her wishes, needs and troubles.
Everything is a word of God which is calling me: the other person’s gestures of love call me to give thanks, others’ wishes and necessities call me to service, their troubles call me to help wish solutions and to share.
Do I listen to those words of God which come to me through others? God wants to tell me something! When I feel there is something from God in what someone tells me, do I embrace the message, do I open my heart so that the word can find a dwelling place in me?
We are to listen to others, but we also need to speak to others. There are moments in which God wants to speak to someone through us. To speak is then a Christian duty. To dialog is a Christian duty. Then I am a word for someone else which the person needs to listen to in order to grow. If I do not speak to others, then I am refusing to be a word of God…..Good News…..the Gospel of God for them.
Questions for Meditation
1. Do I think of myself as a patient person? In this aspect, how do others see me?
2. Do I have moments of prayer to listen to what God is telling me through happenings or persons?
3. Do I listen joyfully when others speak?
Saint Francis Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of yourpeace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
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Translated by Carlos Cantú
Edited by Catholic.net
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