Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Wait a Minute

Wait a full minute before reading further...

Did you actually wait; even half a minute? or did you just go ahead and read this next line? If you did not wait, then you proved my point. We do not tend to be a patient people, do we? We have been trained to expect things to come quickly, and we do not like having to be patient. Patience is actually one of the fruits of the Spirit, but rarely do people really want to have it. It has been almost two weeks since I posted anything here. No, it was not intentionally to see if anyone could be patient, but I was reminded recently about how we all used to wait for new publications that might take a week or more to arrive in the "snail mail", and found the comparison fascinating.

How patient are you in waiting for God to answer your prayers? There are many places in Scripture which tell us of the blessings of waiting (e.g. Lamentations 3:25-26), but we still do not like to wait. Being forced to wait patiently causes us to feel like something is wrong (or worse, like we are being wronged). We want things to be fixed now, and do not think that we should have to wait for resolutions. Modern technology has enabled us to make many things in our lives happen faster, and now we expect everything to be faster.

One of the ways that we have the most trouble today in being patient is when someone does something wrong to us (or even when we merely perceive that a wrong has been done). If we lash out in anger, it is because we are not patient to allow the wrong and offer it to the Lord (which is actually a great grace, cf. 1 Cor 6:7b-8). We want justice immediately, and sometimes take things into our own hands to bring it about. Patient people are willing to bear wrongs because they know that without God's grace they would be doing the same things to others. Only foolish pride supports impatience.

Impatient people are grumpy and usually seek to make others miserable along with them. They get an idea in their minds about how something is supposed to be (either in their own lives, or in the lives of those around them), and if it is not changed at the speed that they demand, then they become angry and frequently seek ways to become a "martyr for their cause". This latter behavior is how they bring others down with them. By spreading their sinful attitude, they encourage others to have the same attitude of discontent.

Although I wish it were different, Catholics are not immune to this behavior. Sinful pride can make people do some horrible things, and I hear stories all the time from my parishioners about problems that could easily be avoided if people would just choose to be patient with each other. It is an amazing grace to say to another (even if only in the silence of our own hearts), "I will bear with what you are doing because I know that I too am sinful and hope that others will be patient with me when I fail them". What does it take to respond like this? The grace of God. Let us all seek it.