St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Social Virtues: Caritas patiens est

"Caritas patiens est. Love is patient. The virtue of patience in an indispensible support for charity.
Patience towards ourselves and others; and bearing well the contradictions of ordinary life." (taken from
In Conversation with God, Vol. 5)

In making a return to my blogging on the social virtues, patience comes up next. Thank you for being patient in waiting :) Oh, how little of patience we seem to have at times - times where we are tried the most and are in the most need of patience. How people run out of patience with us, and we in turn with others. A much needed virtue, one manifested so lovingly by our Lord, and our Blessed Mother. The following are some excerpts from Fr. Francis Fernandez's writings from the In Conversation with God series. As I relay these details, I am struck by the very environments he describes, the very ordinary rounds of life. And I'm humbled to discover over again, how very much my own dynamics of wife, mother, home schooling teacher depend so needfully on this virtue and I'm resolved to try and try again.

Fr. Fernandez continues:
"Patience as a virtue should not be understood to mean passivity in the face of suffering. It is not a matter of socially accepting the blows of outrageous fortune and accepting our fate. Patience belongs to the virtue of fortitude. When we practice patience, we strive to accept pain and trial as something coming from the hand of God. We therefore seek to identify our will with the Will of God. The virtue of patience enables us to endure persecution of every kind. Patience should be the foundation of our hope and joy. [St. Thomas, commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 10, 35]


There are a great many ways a Christian can live this virtue. The first battleground should be in the area of one's own behavior. It is so easy to become disheartened by our defects. We need to exercise patience in our interior struggle based on our unshakeable confidence in God's love for us. If we are to overcome a character defect, it will not happen overnight. Our victory will ultimately be won by the cultivation of humility, of trusting confidence in God, or greater docility. St. Francis de Sales would remind people that we need to have patience with everyone, but first and foremost with ourselves. [St. Francis de Sales, Letters, fragment 139]

Let us always be understanding about the defects of others; so many of our neighbors are sincerely trying to improve. ....If some of our friends habitually give in to their defects, this can have an upsetting effect on us. We may then give way to our impatience and thereby damage our friendships, perhaps irreparably. Charity will help us to be patient with others......when we get flustered, let us not react right away. We should take a deep breath, smile, do whatever has to be done and take our concerns to the Sacred Heart. Jesus looks upon our struggle with great compassion......"

More following-up with Patience in another post.

God bless you!


Rebecca said...

Thanks for this post, Denise. I find it easier to be patient with other people than myself so I really needed to hear the St. Frances de Sales message.
God Bless, Rebecca

Denise said...

I'll hopefully be posting a little more following up with patience, through the weekend here, when I get a chance.

Patience is certainly something we need "situations" presented to us, to practice it - my life is full of them! :)