Thoughts on the Patient Endurance of Sorrows and Sufferings
Patient Followers of the Patient Son of God
As the Lord of men, Jesus Christ became their teacher, and He exhorts us to take up our daily cross, and to follow Him with patience.
Severe to Himself, He is gentle, mild, and forbearing to all others. His meekness is the beautiful flower, His peacefulness the sweet fruit of His patience. His doctrine is doubted and disputed; He is charged with being an impostor; He is called a blasphemer; His wonderful works are ascribed to the devil; His adversaries gnash their teeth, burn with rage, and are prepared to stone Him. Yet His equanimity is unmoved, His meek demeanor is not altered, the calmness of His peace undergoes no change. Resting on His union with His Father, the ground of His invincible strength, His divine fortitude is tried at every point, and at every point His patience is invincible.
We profess to be the patient followers of the patient Son of God. Do we understand how deep that patience goes which rests the humanity of Christ upon the firm foundation of His divinity, and gives to His human will the strength to hold to the will of His Father, unmoved and undisturbed in its peace and self-possession by all that men can say or do against Him? Do we understand the profundity of that patience which refrains from every egotistical self-assertion, however grossly He is misjudged, however ignominiously He is insulted? He only glorifies His heavenly Father, declares His unity with His Father, and equally declares that He can do nothing without His Father. Yet He calls upon us to be the imitators of His patience, to rest for strength on Him; to take up our daily cross and follow Him; to refrain from our selfish egotism; and in patience to possess our souls.
As the patient sufferings of Our Lord were the cause of His glory, the like patience in sufferings will bring us to His glory.
That perfection of life consists in doing our ordinary actions well, is one of the wisest maxims of the saints. Those duties make up the chief sum of our lives during the time allotted to us in this world. As we owe our life and time to God, the good Christian has duties at all hours.
The perfection of our ordinary actions depends on high motives, good will, and cheerful patience. High motives give them their value before God; good will makes them vigorous; cheerful patience makes them orderly, peaceful, effective, and pleasant. Hence, the poor man who goes to his daily toils with good will and cheerful patience for the love of God, is a much nobler person in the sight of God than the man who, from mere human motives, shines with splendid actions in the sight of the world.
Whatever we do is perfect in proportion to the self-possession with which we do it; and that self-possession is proportioned to patience. Nothing, however, trifling, can be done well without good judgment. There are fifty ways of doing anything, but only one perfect way. Nature is always inclined to hurry, to run before judgment, but grace is deliberate. To work fruitfully is to work with a patient will; fretful haste damages both the work and the workman.
They who are patient with obstacles will be patient when the work runs smoothly.
There are few greater proofs of a well-disciplined interior than to be able to break off at any time with cheerfulness from one duty and to turn with equal cheerfulness to another, however unexpected the interruption may be. It is an effect of that detachment of will that comes of patient charity.
Every sorrowful trial bears some resemblance to the most excellent passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and when it is endured with patience, it makes him who endures it a more perfect partaker of the passion of His Lord and Saviour.
What we now suffer, God has from eternity foreseen, and has ordained that we should suffer in this way, and not in any other way.
Nothing more valuable can befall a man than tribulation, when it is endured with patience for the love of God, because there is no more certain sign of the divine election. But this should be understood quite as much of internal as of external trials.
It is the chain of patient sufferings that forms the rings with which Christ espouses a soul to Himself.
We know that to them that love God all things work together unto good.
-Romans viii. 28.
He that is patient is governed with much wisdom: but he that is impatient exalteth his folly.
-Proverbs xiv. 29.
Compiled and Edited by
Rev. F. X. Lasance
Author of "My Prayerbook," etc.
Printers to the Holy Apo;tolic See