Patiently endure evil.
Patience is a kind of Christian courage. More accessible, evil is more easily fought, sin is more easily overcome, and corruption is more difficult to endure. It is not ideal. We know how obtuse passivity to evil causes evil to take root and become entrenched. Patients quickly become a cloak for weakness and laziness. Many things can and should be corrected instead of “patiently” endured! It is said that the sluggard will rather sleep patiently on a poorly made bed rather than climb down and fix it.
And yet, there are evils in the world that cannot be removed. To fight against it would be to beat one’s head unwisely against the wall. It is above all disease and accidents. I have a toothache; I will not put off the matter, but will go to the dentist as soon as possible. However, I can prevent neither I nor he from being uncomfortable with drilling or tearing a diseased tooth.
Patience, then, is a virtue that teaches me to bear calmly the evils which I cannot remove. This attitude is reasonable but requires a kind of surrender, a submission, even if uncased. There are moments in a war where the only reasonable way out is to go into captivity. And yet, there are men who even here prefer to choose death rather than surrender. We even admire them for it. If patience is a positive virtue, it cannot be merely a kind of unreasonable surrender but must have a more profound meaning.
The ancient Stoics tried to uncover this meaning. For them, nothing is more desirable than inner peace. The constitutional struggle against evil causes restlessness and, thus, ultimately, a greater evil. “They have broken your jar of oil, they have spilled your wine,” he writes the ancient Stoic, “say, “So much money is my peace worth!”
Even modern people admire patience. Boys read Indian stories in which the heroes don’t move an eye, though they’re tied to a stake. They like to repeat the Cossack saying: “Patience, Cossack, you will be an ataman!” I to the Scout’s decorator “A Scout laughs and whistles in his “A scout is a scout in all troubles.”
Indeed, this reason for patients is insufficient for the Christian who reads the words in the Gospel: Whoever will follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me (Mt 16:24). In daily life, we endure freely and patiently; we suffer many hardships. The student voluntarily studies all night before an examination. After the exams, he patiently takes uncomfortable travel on a crowded train to get to his vacation. To guide these and similar patients to perfection, we must bear the cross “for Christ” with genuine intent, in a religious spirit, to give them a Christian filling.
Gaudier defines the Christian attitude thus: ‘Patience is a virtue. Its aim is not only to alleviate but to put to rest the sadness and mental anguish that seizes us in the difficulties that overwhelm us. We, therefore, endure firmly and magnanimously any adversity. At the same time, God permits it, and we do not falter in the pursuit of perfection, nor neglect our duties, but are guided by sound judgment and the will of God.” God will send sickness and bodily pain to patients with ourselves and our neighbors. We will meet with setbacks in our studies, work, family, and intercourse with people. It is easy to tell ourselves that this or that does not concern us. In close contact, other people’s shortcomings usually sting more than our own. They can just make ridiculous mistakes.
St. Teresa of Jesus, saint, yet she confessed how hard it was for her to endure the rattling of the rosary or the splashing of water in the washing. She knew well that it was not so much the faults of others as her hypersensitivity. In the spiritual life, we quickly lose patience when we see the memories of life keep coming back to us, that we have left behind, bad ideas, how we keep falling into the same mistakes. Strong temptations sometimes return with such intensity that it seems we must succumb to them at any moment. Scruples and inconsolably seeming purposelessness of life can be cured in no other way than by honest and sincere patience.
The so-called angelic virtue also requires much patience for sexual purity. That someone chooses to live a pure life doesn’t mean that the fantasies and evil affections stop. Even great saints have had to endure them after years of ascetic life. Similarly, with other evil inclinations. Keeping dogs on a leash can get tiresome after a while. But there is no other solution if they can’t be tamed. Lacking patience with the faults of a fellow man, families are broken up, societies and associations are broken up, even religious ones. If a new movement arises, it is usually astonished by the enthusiasm of its followers and youthful strength and interest. The trying times, however, come a little later, when the first zeal cools.
He must be patient and would have success among the youth. Patience, however, is also required by the older adults, the old institutions, and obsolete forms of life. Enthusiastic radicals would
..would like to demolish, rebuild, and transform everything at once.
The parable of the Gospel counsels prudence, not to pick and choose
the tares before the wheat is fully ripe (cf. Mt 13:30). Immature novelty often destroys even the good that was there before. A Dutch proverb wittily says: “Do not pour out hastily out of the bath with the baby!”
Patience is said to be a virtue of the saints. It is not severely said. The holiness of movements and persons is tested by patience. Then it will be seen whether it was genuine. That is why, in biographies of saints, they usually keep dwelling on those moments when their patience was most evident. Of St. Remigius, we read that he warmed himself with laughter, his hands on the fire when the entire grain supply burned up in case of hunger. Not a wink of his eye did St. Bernard betray his displeasure when his entire collection of money was stolen to build a new monastery. Over and over again, this theme is returned to Flowers of St. Francis. From Scripture, it will forever remain an example of patience Job with his winged utterance (1,21): naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and nude I shall return. The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord!
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