Thursday, June 8, 2017

PATIENCE

Homily for June 9th, 2015: Patience.
The Talmud, the collection of rabbinical wisdom and commentary, has a story about Abraham. With the hospitality for which the patriarch was famous, he invited a stranger into his tent and feasted him lavishly. When he invited his visitor to join him in prayer to the one true God, the stranger refused, explaining that he was a fire worshiper. Angry that his visitor was worshipping a false god, Abraham drove the man from his door. That night the Lord appeared to Abraham in a dream and said: AI have borne with that ignorant man for seventy years. Could you not have patiently suffered him for one night?@
Which one of us has never felt impatience? The English spiritual writer Evelyn Underhill writes: AOn every level of life from housework to the heights of prayer, in all judgment and all efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.@ 
Professional mountaineers who guide climbers to high peaks, the Alps, in the Himalayas, can always spot the novice climbers.  They climb too fast, soon tire, and fail to reach the summit. The experienced mountaineer is patient. He climbs slowly. It is only patient climbers who reach the highest peaks. 
Life is like that. Most of the road to heaven must be taken at thirty miles an hour. Here is another quote from Evelyn Underhill:  APatience with ourselves is a duty for Christians, and the only real humility. For it means patience with a growing creature whom God has taken in hand and whose completion he will effect in his own time and way.@
The 19th century English convert priest and contemporary of Bl. John Henry Newman writes: AWe must wait for God, long, meekly in the wind and wet, in the thunder and lightning, in the cold and the dark. Wait, and he will come. He never comes to those who do not wait.@ (Frederick W. Faber)
I invite you to pray in this Mass for patience: patience with yourselves, patience with others, patience with circumstances. The best help to patience is to reflect on how unbelievably patient God has been with ourselves C and continues to be right now.