The habit of Patience

So far this Advent, every pastor’s column has explored one of the many gifts that await us under the tree, that is, the cross of Christ. And there are some awesome gifts – to name the ones mentioned in previous weeks – forgiveness and mercy. Now we have arrived at the Third Week of Advent, Gaudete Sunday! The name comes from wording in Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!  It is another week, and another gift awaits. Like any kid in the days leading up to Christmas you have begun to peer under the tree, assessing the shapes, sizes and weight of gifts – and guessing what could possibly be under wraps. You have to wonder what other awesome gift is waiting right there under the tree, the cross of Christ. Let’s open up another gift!  But wait…it’s not Christmas yet.  What’s the rush? Christmas is only over a week away. Of course, when I was 7 years old, “only a week” seemed liked a lifetime. Now that I am 67, “only a week” is but the blink of an eye. I am much more patient about most things…. Not all things, most things. So, what’s the rush? Maybe we should practice a little patience? Continue reading


“Bless me Father, for I have sinned….” Among the most frequently confessed sins are anger, being judgmental, and impatience. “Patience is a virtue.” We’re all familiar with that expression. Patience is listed by St. Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 as among the fruit of the Spirit. So, there’s no disputing that the Christian ought to be patient. But is impatience a sin? W. H. Auden, the English-American poet, wrote “Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.” Insightful about the human condition to be sure, but not sure that has standing in the world of moral theology. Continue reading

Being Family, Being Holy

flight-into-egyptOne of the things I do to prepare for the homilies is to continually read – books, magazines, on-lines articles and commentaries, and a host of other sources. I spent part of Saturday morning looking through the internet to see what people were saying or had said about the Holy Family.  There is no shortage of sources. There were very good articles with inspiring insights, but there were too many articles that, it seems to me, were simply not too helpful.

There were sources that bemoaned the rate of divorce and the state of families in the United States, but said little else. Articles that scolded. Articles that had true and factual things to say. But so many articles failed to hold up one of the readings from Scripture that might speak to families having a rough go of it – to hold out encouragement, hope, and a touch of compassion.  Continue reading

Admoniton Thirteen

People often remark that they need to pray for patience. St. Francis recognized it is only the stressful moments that reveal if our wellspring of patience has run dry. How does one fill the well of patience? Perhaps one needs to pray not simply for the general item of patience, but for healing of the inner wound that is easily enflamed that bursts to the surface as impatience. With the grace of God, one needs to make peace within oneself in order to keep the wellspring full.

Admonition Thirteen: Patience

1 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. A servant of God cannot know how much patience and humility he has within himself as long as he is content. 2 When the times comes, however, when those who should make him content do the opposite, he has as much patience and humility as he has at the time and no more.