patience, patience -Homily
July 6, 2014
Maybe you have heard the story of the farmer and his
donkey. It says:
“One day a farmer’s
donkey fell into a well. The animal cried heavily for hours as the farmer tried
to find some solution to rescue the poor animal.
Finally, the farmer
decided that the donkey was old and the well was dry and needed to be covered
anyway; really the donkey was not worthy to be saved.
He asked all his neighbours to come and help. Each one grabbed a shovel and
began to throw dirt into the well. The donkey realized what was happening and
Then, to everyone’s
surprise, he calmed down after a few shovels of dirt.
The farmer finally
looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw... With each shovel of dirt,
the donkey was doing something amazing: The donkey shook the earth off and
stepped on the land.
Very soon everyone
was surprised how the donkey came to the mouth of the well, stepped over the
edge and left alive...
Life will throw you dirt,
all kinds of dirt... the trick is to shake it off and use it to step up. Each
of our troubles is a step up. We can get out of the deepest well if we do not
* * * * * * * *
Today Jesus said to
us in the Gospel: “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30).
And He invited us to go to Him, who is meek and humble in heart to find rest
for our souls. Meekness, humility, patience are beautiful virtues. We will try
to say something about patience.
What is patience?
Fulton Sheen said: “Patience
is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing’, it waits
on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”
Saint Augustine said:
“A man’s patience it is, to bear evil with an equal steady, i.e. without
being disturbed by sorrow, lest he abandon with an unequal mind the goods
whereby he may advance to better things”.
And continued: “properly
speaking those are patient who would rather bear evils without inflicting them,
than inflict them without bearing them. As for those who bear evils that they
may inflict evil, their patience is neither marvelous nor praiseworthy, for it
is no patience at all: we may marvel at their hardness of heart, but we must
refuse to call them patient.”
Francis said: “patience is not resignation, it is something quite different.
Patience means bearing the things of life, the things that are not good, the
bad things, things that we do not want. This patience will cause our lives to
mature. Those who have no patience instead want everything at once, all in a
hurry. Those who do not know the wisdom of this patience are whimsical people,
who end up behaving like naughty children who say: ‘I want this, I want that, I
do not like this’, and are never satisfied with anything”. He continued:
“the person who has no patience is a person who will not grow, who remains with
the whims of children, not knowing how to take life as it comes, and can only
say ‘either this or nothing!’”
What kind of hardships can we bear with patience?
Patience is said to
have a perfect work in bearing hardships: for these give rise first to sorrow,
secondly, to anger, thirdly, to hatred, fourthly, to unjust injury.
For this reason
according to Gregory “patience is the root and safeguard of all the virtues”,
and Jesus said to us: “By your patience you will secure your lives” (Luke
Some examples of patience
1. We can read in the
Bible the story of Job. He was an oriental chieftain, pious and upright, richly
endowed in his own person and in domestic prosperity. He suffers a sudden and
complete reversal of fortune. He loses his property and his children; a
loathsome disease afflicts his body; and sorrow oppresses his soul.
Nevertheless, Job does not complain against God. He was a patient man.
2. The patience of
Pope Francis said:
“When the Lord intervenes he does not always do so in the same way. There is no
‘set protocol’ for God’s action in our life... it does not exist. He intervenes
in one way, later in another… but he always intervenes”. “The Lord always
chooses his way to enter into our lives. Often he does so slowly, so slowly
that we are in danger of losing our patience a little. But Lord, when?
“The Lord takes his
time. But even he, in this relationship with us, has a lot of patience. He
waits for us! And he waits for us until the end of life! Think of the good
thief, right at the end, at the very end, he acknowledged God. The Lord walks
with us, but often does not reveal himself, as in the case of the disciples of
Emmaus. The Lord is involved in our lives -that’s for sure!-
But often we do not see. This demands our patience. But the Lord who walks with
us, also has a lot of patience with us”.
3. The patience of
We can see in many
moments of His Life: in His words, in His teaching. His patience with His
enemies, His patience with sinners, His patience with His friends, the
I like to think of
His patience while He is carrying the Cross. He knows the end, He knows that He
will died on the Cross for the salvation of the world, He knows that many
people will reject Him, but, He continues carrying His Cross until the end.
And on the Cross He
heard people challenging him: “Come down, come down!”.
Patience until the end, because He has patience with us. He always enters, He
is involved with us, but He does so in His own way and when He thinks it’s best.
God’s patience is a mystery and it can be seen in Jesus’ attitude to us.
We must learn from Jesus, and we must try to be patient.
Pope Francis said to
the Bishops -and this is useful for all of us- “There are five virtues of a bishop: first patience, second
patience, third patience, fourth patience, and last, patience with those who
invite us to have patience.”
Let Our Lady help us
today to be a patient person, to have patience to listen, patience to talk,
patience to bear hardships and patience to do beautiful things every day. –Fr.