I BELIEVE that the practice of patience is unavoidable in our life. We have problems, difficulties and all sorts of negative things that can happen everyday, and one way or another we are forced to bear them, even if we don’t quite like bearing them.
Of course, the ideal is to develop patience as a virtue, something that we should willingly and lovingly do, based on our faith in God who knows what to do with every predicament we may get into. We should also willingly and lovingly do it, fully aware that a lot of good can be derived from practicing this virtue in the spirit of Christ.
Patience is first of all a grace of God that we should constantly ask for. But it is also a virtue that we need to develop ourselves. And as a virtue, a good part of it consists in simply forgetting ourselves.
We have to discipline ourselves so that we can develop the attitude of readily doing the will of God no matter what it costs. God’s will is expressed in his commandments and implied in the events of our day that we have to learn to relate to God.
With self-forgetfulness, many of the difficulties that we have would actually just disappear, since these difficulties usually arise due to the exaggerated consideration our egos give them. When we manage to forget ourselves, that is, when we try to slay our egos, life is cleared of many of its problems and difficulties.
To slay our egos, we have to learn not to take ourselves too seriously. In fact, we should regard ourselves as nothing but servants, always thinking of God and of the others, ever eager to serve them. In this way we follow what St. Paul suggested:
“In humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others…” (Phil 2,3-4) From there, St. Paul talked about imitating Christ in his self-emptying.
Our self-forgetfulness should reflect this self-emptying of Christ. It may take the form of not getting over-sensitive, especially when we are insulted and mocked. In fact, it may be a good idea to expose ourselves as early as possible to insults and mockeries, so we can develop a certain immunity towards them.
We have to learn the art of holy indifference and the practice of dismissing certain stray thoughts and reactions that are not helpful at all to us nor pleasing to God. We have to learn not to worry and, instead, develop that healthy sense of abandonment in the hands of God.
Somehow we have to learn to be sport in the sense that whatever happens in our game of life, we continue to be of good spirit, to be calm and cool. We have to learn to be quick to forgive and to forget, not allowing resentments to settle in our hearts.
We should be cheerful all the time, positive in our outlook and encouraging in our words. In this way, we would actually be identifying ourselves in a very concrete way with Christ who went through his passion and death with serenity.
Let’s empty ourselves so as to be filled only with the things of God and of the others.
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