Patience is not cowardice in the face of reality, or neutrality towards defects. The believer seeks to change the world. However, his preaching may take too long, and people may not listen to him if he testifies and talks. In fact, there is the factor of time, and we cannot possibly dictate the truth to the others. Why do those whom we try to guide insist on their sins? There is something Paul called “the mystery of lawlessness”, for no one knows when grace will come upon the one we pray for, or when  he will accept it. The spirit has both “wheat and weeds”, and you cannot always uproot weeds.

Apparently, most people remain in the evil state which they have been accustomed to while growing up. Moreover, true repentance is scarce, and all that you can do is to wait and love. This means that, in the parish and in the world, you live with people of different degrees of piousness and devotion. Hence, you have to accept them the way they are, for they are your brothers. And maybe their only chance of getting back to righteousness is to see your sense of fraternity and your tolerance of what annoys or shocks you about them. Some people may hurt you constantly because of a deep-rooted enmity or a pathological jealousy. They would be nervous when they see, and they might seek to humiliate you out of hatred and injustice. If you resent their attitude or return like for like, you will cause the rancor and trouble to increase. But you are capable of healing them through meekness and patience. God has chosen you to be the healer of that person who hurts you, just because you know his wound. God is the great healer, for He has the greatest patience. He awaits our return, He calls us to come back, but He does not compel us to be virtuous. He gives us time, hoping that the sin would “disgust” us one day, or that we would opt for Him and realize that our comfort lies in Him. Patience is based on hope. In confrontations, you need kindness and peace to tolerate impoliteness, abuse, maliciousness and intentional oppression. Accepting others as they are and with all their sins, starts by admitting that you cannot change anything about people if they did not change themselves. The New Testament teaches us about the patience of the Christ and saints. This is patience in Christ. If you are in Christ, you have no spite, petulance, indignation, slapping, or reaction. You would rather retreat and recognize the truth in order to get out of the darkness in you.

Patience is not about saying that you are doomed to live with this or that, but rather thanking God that you live with whomever you live with, for if you were patient with them, you will save yourself and them, and you will be kind so that they can see God. God has made a time for the salvation of mankind, followed by the Kingdom, and He also prepared a way for every one of us to be saved. You shall accompany the other throughout all the steps he needs in order to understand and rejoice.

Translated by Amani Haddad

Original Text: “الصبر المقدّس” – Raiati no 42-16.10.94