Long-suffering is being patient


Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick posts videos of her reflections each week at the Facebook of the Sisters of St. Basil the Great.
View them at: https://www.facebook.com/sistersofstbasil.uniontown/.

This is a transcript of her Aug. 2, 2019 reflection and is Part 6 of her “Fruits of the Holy Spirit” series.


Today, as we continue this series on Fruits of the Spirit we talk about one we wonder if it belongs here; it’s called “long-suffering.”

It’s considered something good in the Catholic tradition; in the spiritual tradition, actually, because we are a church of martyrdom and a people who are faithful to the end.

Long-suffering is often a need for us to live faithfully. We certainly have plenty of examples in life of those who have gone to great extremes.

We think of somebody like St. Paul, who suffered many, many things at the hands of enemies; at the hands of those who felt threatened by his teachings.

We have plenty of martyrs, of course. And we have examples in our own history in contemporary times. Particularly, think of St. John Paul II, who remained in his role as a Holy Father even in his old age and even in his infirmity.

I think of Mother Teresa, who expanded her ministry to many countries where governments were in opposition to the Catholic faith. But she stood up to them and demanded: If you want my help, you must have these things available for the Sisters and for the ministry.

They weren’t for these things but she persevered until these things were arranged. Long-suffering is being patient when somebody is working against you. It’s patience under stress. It’s patience when somebody is being unjust to you, when life’s circumstances aren’t what you want.

It means all the way from putting up with when someone is bumping your seat from behind on an airplane to the grouchy neighbor who threatens to sue you for everything.

Can you, in fact, ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit then to be patient?
Can you pray for the one who opposes?

These are the ways the Holy Spirit can work in us, in these Fruits of the Spirit, to keep us on track to be people of faith, hope, and love.

We see examples of this in the prayer of St. Francis: “that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console.” To be caring about others and recognizing others need our prayer, need the offering of our sacrifice of inconvenience.

It’s an age where we’re used to being treated well. But these moments that try us — try our virtue, try our patience, — can be moments when grace can flourish in us and make us stronger. These things develop our “spiritual muscles.”

Not on our own. We must ask for the Lord’s help, we must ask for Mary’s help as we go through the journey on this path of holiness.
May God bless you.