This Advent, may we let the light grow and give patience to others as a gift. How?
The next time we are in a disagreement with a loved one, let’s refuse to have the last word.
The next time we are convinced that we are right, instead of proving our point again, let’s listen to the other who we are convinced is “wrong.”
The next time we demand our own way, let’s refuse to take it. This isn’t “giving in” or “giving up” … this is giving forth. Like Jesus.
Advent sneaks up on us. So does hope. And hope begins in small places that are unseen at first. And like the light, hope grows.
Msgr. Bransfield is the author of “Living the Beatitudes: A Journey to Life in Christ.”
Advent is a season of preparation, anticipation and waiting. It’s a time to stretch and strengthen a particularly stubborn, and sometimes weak, “muscle” — patience.
In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul lists patience among other fruits of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (5:22-23).
St. Thomas Aquinas, in the “Summa Theologiae,” argues that patience is a virtue. He quotes St. Augustine: “The virtue of the soul that is called patience, is so great a gift of God, that we even preach the patience of him (God) who bestows it upon us.”
Patience is both a gift from God and a “muscle” to be worked. A virtue is a “habitual and firm disposition to do good,” reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1833). “The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts and perseverance in struggle,” the catechism continues (No. 1839).
What deliberate acts will you take this Advent to grow in patience?
Better get a head start — the pre-Christmas workout won’t last long, Advent is a bit shorter this year. The fourth week of Advent is only a day long, Sunday — it’s also Christmas Eve, as Christmas falls on a Monday.
Advent begins Dec. 3. Visit syrdio.org for resources and thecatholicsun.com for reflections from Father Ken Kirkman and more.