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Streams of Mercy, Part 7: Patience

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By Melanie Williams (Sep 18, 2018)
We continue our series "Streams of Mercy," reflecting on themes and lessons presented in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Each month, we dive into a different virtue or theme presented by our Lord in the Diary, so that we might learn from Him and prepare our hearts for His coming to us each and every day, and at the end of our lives — whether that be through a bodily death or His Second Coming. This month we reflect on the virtue of patience.

"Patience in adversity gives great power to the soul" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 607).

If there is one virtue that St. Faustina mentions the most when speaking of spiritual battle and growth, it's patience. Patience with others, and patience with oneself.

It's always relieving to hear when canonized saints express very human difficulties. On four separate occasions in the Diary, St. Faustina mentions that certain persons test her patience, whether it be someone lying to her, visiting her too often, tediously talking, or coughing too much in chapel (see Diary, 901, 920, 1311, and 1376).

But when St. Faustina speaks of patience, on most occasions she says that she "arms" herself with patience — as if for a battle. Indeed, it is a spiritual battle to be patient with oneself and with others. Satan would be happy if we would give into our impatience and be hard on ourselves or lack charity with another. But patience, along with prayer and silence, give strength to the soul (see Diary, 944), and help us refrain from sin.

Indeed, patience is a powerful spiritual weapon. Saint Faustina writes, "In the adversities that I experience, I remind myself that the time for doing battle has not yet come to an end. I arm myself with patience, and in this way I defeat my assailant" (Diary, 509). Furthermore, she writes, "I have learned that the greatest power is hidden in patience. I see that patience always leads to victory, although not immediately; but that victory will become manifest after many years. Patience is linked to meekness" (Diary, 1514).

Additionally, when it comes to prayer and growing in the spiritual life, patience is an important virtue to practice. Saint Faustina writes:

Let the soul be aware that, in order to pray and persevere in prayer, one must arm oneself with patience and cope bravely with exterior and interior difficulties. The interior difficulties are discouragement, dryness, heaviness of spirit and temptations. The exterior difficulties are human respect and time; one must observe the time set apart for prayer (Diary, 147).

And when one makes resolutions in prayer, one must arm oneself with patience to face reality which will test one's resolutions:
And so I then answered immediately, "Jesus, I accept everything that You wish to send me; I trust in Your goodness." At that moment, I felt that by this act I glorified God greatly. But I armed myself with patience. As soon as I left the chapel, I had an encounter with reality. I do not want to describe the details, but there was as much of it as I was able to bear. I would not have been able to bear even one drop more (Diary, 190).

But St. Faustina did not learn this all on her own. The Lord Jesus was her Teacher. He said to her on one occasion, "I was your Teacher, I am and I will be; strive to make your heart like unto My humble and gentle Heart. ... Bear with great calm and patience everything that befalls you" (Diary, 1701).

And on another occasion, He said:

My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare. ... Bear with yourself with great patience. ... Always fight with the deep conviction that I am with you. Do not be guided by feeling, because it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will. (Diary, 1760).

Our Lord knows that the path to salvation is not easy. He said to His disciples, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few" (Mt 7:13-14). So, Jesus wants to teach us to be patient with ourselves, and others, as we stumble and journey along this path to Heaven. Let us pray and ask St. Faustina to help us to learn and grow in the virtue of patience.

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