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Charla Ink Slingers

Patience, please.

impatienceI once went to Confession years ago, and as I divulged my many transgressions, I still felt helpless. Typically, I am at peace and have a sense of relief after having let out all that baggage and a cathartic sensation overtakes me, but not this time, not until Father spoke. It wasn’t words of absolution that did it but a question: “Why do you continue to ask God for patience? Ask God for understanding, and then patience will come.” I didn’t quite understand what he was suggesting, but I felt trust in his words. It did not seem too far-fetched and rather reasonable, so I was left with something to ponder. When he gave me absolution, I thought more on this idea and tried to apply it to my life.

My difficulties with patience usually stem from frustrations with dealing with my children. My kids don’t listen to me at times, or they get easily distracted. They aren’t ready quickly enough or they won’t stop talking.  If I put myself in their world, their understanding of their situations, I may gain this patience.  Understanding in this way is most definitely empathy. If I empathize, I become a better version of myself.  I use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given me to be what God envisions for me and to continue on such a path enables my salvation. So maybe my children will in fact be my golden ticket to Heaven.

The mother of one of my students mentioned that her son said he was not going to pray for patience, because then God will give him the opportunities to be patient! Isn’t that so often the truth! We are afraid of the hard work.  We shy away from the challenges God gives us, expecting our lives to be simple and carefree, and quite frankly easy.  Patience isn’t easy; it is quite difficult because we want to focus on ourselves and not on others. We want it NOW; we want others to cater to our whims; we want our way. If we accept people and situations for what they are, it sure brings a sensation of peace, so isn’t patience worth it?

heavenSometimes, I truly feel like I do not actually desire patience. If I am patient, doesn’t that mean I am not enthusiastic or I do not feel emphatically enough about things? Won’t patience hold me back from greatness? Or keep me from pursuing my dreams? Will it make me complacent or content? All these things are actually true, but only in one sense. We should not be patient with ourselves when it comes to a relationship with God. We can’t afford to wait until we think we are ready to be good and holy and virtuous. God is patient with us because He loves us, but if we are patient with a lower standard of holiness for ourselves, it could result in our loss of salvation.  Heaven is too important.  Our Lord is too precious to us to let a relationship with Him slip through our fingers. If there is a time to act, it is now.  We cannot become patient with others; we cannot show empathy to others if we put off a rapport with God.

 I will seek understanding, which will bring patience, which will arouse empathy, which is an important gift of the Holy Spirit.  This level of holiness will help us gain God and gain Salvation.

What tries your patience and what can you do to understand and become empathetic?

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Emily Faith Formation Ink Slingers Offering your suffering Prayer Saints

Sit down, shut your mouth, and maybe you’ll learn a little something about PATIENCE!

Have you ever felt a little… edgy?

You know… when you clearly didn’t get enough any sleep, and the husband is obviously and deliberately pushing your buttons, and the kids are being just slightly less than angelic, and the STUPID DOG just barfed, and the coffee is cold, and “mom, I have a spelling test today,” and WHERE THE HECK IS THE BOTTLE OPENER!?!

Yeah… me neither.

Well, for the REST of you impatient heathens… listen up:

Patience is a virtue.

And… wine isn’t exactly appropriate at 6:32AM.  {WHAT?}
No, not even Pinot Noir.  {DANG!}

Sigh.

Today is October 17th – Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  Don’t know much about him?  Let’s explore.
He was a bishop in the late first century and was known for his letters to the early Christian churches and was the first one known to use the term “catholic” (meaning “universal”, “complete” and “whole”)  to describe the church.   In his letter to the Romans he shares:

From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated.

Dang, no mention of resorting to wine… or whine.

Oh… and he was a martyr… eaten by lions at the Colosseum.

Wow… okay… puts things into perspective. {deep breath}

Patience is a virtue.

So how do we set an example to others for how to live a virtuous life in this day and age?
How do we treat those who are closest to us?
Are we instilling a Culture of Life in our actions as well as our words?
If we can’t die to ourselves, how can we expect others in this world to die to their own “wild beasts” that encircle them?
Those who see abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty as options for coping with our daily burdens rarely see any alternatives and need immediate solutions.
And while it’s easy to self-righteously compare splinters to beams in terms of the weight of our sins, it’s rare that we actually exhibit patience in our daily lives – especially to the extent that we expect others around us to maintain.

We work hard to instill every good Catholic formative teaching in the hearts of our children, but patience is something we learn by example.  And not only our children, but everyone we meet in our day to day lives.

It’s important to remember that the Culture of Life BEGINS with us, in how we actually treat one another and how we are perceived by others.

How’s that for a good ol’ Catholic guilt trip?   Eh, we could all use a good smack in the soul with a  solid examination of conscience once in awhile.

And when those “wild beasts” begin to encircle us we should remember St. Ignatius of Antioch, who continued to treat them kindly – even to his own death.