Advent is a time of waiting, of eager longing for the Messiah,
for the one who can heal us, save us, make us whole.
In waiting , we must await God coming at His time, in His season, in His way.
In waiting, we may often wait alone.
Others may leave, may give up, may not care, may be busy about many things.
But we must wait in silence, in solitude, in prayer.
We must wait empty, open, poor, hungry, thirsty, longing……
We must make space for the Messiah – HE COMES.
Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings. The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ [Jesus] will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To him be dominion forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11)
As for me, I will look to the LORD, I will wait for God my savior; my God will hear me!e
Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! though I have fallen, I will arise; though I sit in darkness, the LORD is my light. I will endure the wrath of the LORD because I have sinned against him, Until he pleads my case, and establishes my right. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see his righteousness. (Micah 7:7-9)
God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. But when the promise was first given (Genesis 12:1-3) Abraham and his wife Sarah did not have any children. God continued to restate His promise to Abraham through the years (Genesis 13:6; 15:1-6; 17:6-8; 18:10). Abraham, though known as a man of faith, took his wife’s suggestion and had a child with Sarah’s handmaid. The son’s name was Ishmael. But this was not the son God intended for Abraham. (Genesis 16) Finally when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 years old, God gave them their son Isaac. Though it took years of patiently waiting, they received the promise of God. Hebrews 6:15 says of Abraham, “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise”. Be patient…wait for the Lord. The Lord will fulfill His promises.
Abraham and Sarah had to wait for the Lord and it was a very, very long wait! Now nit is your choice. Learn to wait! Be patient!
Seed grows unaware: The seed that is sowed in the field grows of itself without the sower being aware of it. Jesus said, “A man scatters seed on the ground. He goes to bed and gets up day after day. Through it all the seed sprouts and grows without his knowing how it happens. The soil produces of itself first the blade, then the ear, finally the ripe wheat in the ear. When the crop is ready, he wields the sickle for the time is ripe for harvest” (Mark 4:26-29).
The farmer must wait patiently for a good harvest.
Jesus gave us another parable about a farmer sowing good seed and enemy sowing bad seed while the farmer was asleep. The servant suggested that they pull the weeds. The farmer said, “Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn” (Mathew 13:30-35).
The farmer had the wisdom to be patient and wait for a time when good choices, proper discernment can be made.
St. Paul advises us as he did the Galatians, “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9)…Be patient!
St. James advises us as he did the early Christians. “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. … (James 5:7-12)
St. Francis De Sales advises us…..
Be patient with everyone but especially with yourself; I mean that you should not be troubled about your imperfections and that you should always have courage to pick yourself up afterwards. There is no better way of getting there in the end in the spiritual life than always starting all over again and never thinking that you have done enough.
Have you ever watched a spider? The spider will spend many hours, in great effort spinning a web. As the spider spins the web, the key factor will become patience. Many hours after the web is completed, the spider waits and waits. The spider must be very still and quiet. The spider has a plan, but the plan can never develop without patience.
As the spider waits, one day the spider will feel the web moving, the food has come suddenly. But there was nothing sudden about it. It was patience released.
A young man once approached Socrates to ask if the philosopher would teach him the gift of oratory. His request was then followed by an incessant stream of words until, finally, Socrates placed his hand over the inquirer’s mouth and said, “Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.” When the man asked why, Socrates replied, “I will have to teach you two sciences: first, how to hold your tongue and then, how to use it.”
You cannot speak and learn at the same time. Be patient!
There was a monk who was very impatient. You may wonder, why would a monk be impatient? Don’t they become monks so that they don’t have to deal with the world? Yes, that’s true. So imagine how impatient this monk was…
The more he tried, the more impatient he became. So he decided that he must get away to learn to be patient. So he built himself a little home deep in the woods, far away from civilization.
Years later, a man was traveling in those woods and met him. The man was amazed to find anyone living so far away from the rest of the world, so he asked the monk why he was there all by himself. The monk said that he was there to learn to be patient.
The traveler asked how long he had been there, and the monk replied: seven years. Stunned, the traveler asked, “If there is no one around to bother you, how will you know when you are patient?” Annoyed, the monk replied, “Get away from me… I have no time for you.”
Every time you feel that you are becoming impatient, remember the monk! Learn patience where you are, with people and situations that challenge your patience!
Be waiting…..Be Patient…..Be persevering….
When you bear with rejection and stand your ground without giving up…..
When you give up your own comfort and bring comfort to others….
When you bear with being let down or put down and reach out to lift others who are let down or put down….
When someone speaks ill of you, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in quiet, loving silence….
When you lovingly and quietly bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance…
When you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility or indifference and endure it as Jesus did…
When you are content with tasteless food, uncomfortable climate, disturbing silence, troublesome inconvenience… any such interruption by the will of God….
When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances……
When you can receive correction and reproof from one less in stature than yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, without rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart and continue to fulfill your calling….
Patience is a way of being present on our journey. It is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances. It is perseverance in the face of delay. It is being focused and staying on the task in adverse conditions, without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way. It is forbearance under strain, especially, when faced with long-term difficulties. It is self-discipline and self-control. Patience is the quality of being steadfast, firm and persevering in purpose.
Be steadfast, persevering, my beloved brothers, fully engaged in the work of the Lord (1:Cor.15:58).
It has never been easy to be patient, but it’s probably harder now than at any time in history. In a world where messages and information can be sent across the world instantly, everything is available with only a few clicks of the mouse or an 800 number. Fortunately, patience is a virtue that can be cultivated and nurtured over time.
Patience is one of the virtues that call us to try and try again…..seven times seventy times! Patience is at the root of being steadfast. Without cultivating patience, no one can be loyal, faithful and steadfast.
Patience is presented as a prominent virtue and an important personal trait in the Hebrew Scriptures. The wise man tells us:
Better is the patient spirit than the lofty spirit. Do not, in spirit, become quickly discontented, for discontent lodges in the bosom of a fool. (Ecclesiastes 7:8-9)
Be Waiting! Be patient! Be Faithful! Be there! Be steadfast!
Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs