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Keeping Faith Alive (8)

 

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Sit still…..Relax…….Do not rush………

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

Take a moment. Bless your day. Let your day Bless you……Take another moment. Bless your world. Let your world bless you……

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good…….Now from the depth of heart, wish your mind well……

Now I invite you to consecrate this day and all that come with this day….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

I pray for you and I pray for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day! May God bless you and keep you safe in the center of His Love!

I invite you to pray for each other and for all, who, at this moment, are receiving the gift of this new day!

We continue our meditation on keeping our faith alive. Our last meditation was on choosing to be grateful and joyful and generous with the abundance that is available to us, as a way of keeping our faith alive. No matter what our situation in life, no matter what the economic conditions, we all have the capacity for being gracious and generous. We are all beneficiaries of the generosity of those we have not met and even those whom we will never meet.

Our meditation today is on the patience that enables us to persevere in our efforts to do what we are called to do and be faithful on our journey.
Patience is an exercise of Faith. Patience is an exercise of trust in the provident care of our God. Patience enables us to keep our faith alive. Patience is faith alive in difficult situations, testing times, death and dying moments and in uncertain and confusing seasons.

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.

Patience is self-discipline and self-control. Patience is the quality of being steadfast, firm and persevering in purpose. St. Paul advises us, “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. It 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 nurture steadfastness.

Patience is presented as a prominent virtue and an important personal trait in the Hebrew Scriptures. Prayerfully reflect over the following from the Old Testament:

As for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God hears me. (Micah 7:7).

The patient man shows much good sense, but the quick-tempered man displays folly at its height. (Proverbs 14:29)

A patient man is better than a warrior, and he who rules his temper, than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32).

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)

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.

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”. The farmer had the wisdom to be patient and wait for a time when good choices, proper discernment can be made. (Mathew 13:30-35)

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.

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 Patient and 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….

Be patient with yourself! Be patient with your world!

Above all, be patient with your God!

Be grateful for today and every day, for the miracle of life, for the amazing grace and blessing of your history, for the men and women who gave you spirit and tradition and for today, be specially grateful for your family and your community…….

May the “Year of Faith” be God’s wonderful gift to you and I pray that you will make it a gracious and joyful gift to others.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs