Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

Fruits of the Spirit: Patience

on September 7, 2008

It’s been awhile, I know! We covered patience a few weeks ago. Then we had XLT. This week we talked about something completely different. So technically, I’m not that far behind. But here’s what we talked about:

Patience is a characteristic of God: Exodus 34:6

Colossians 3:12-13

Psalm 37:7-10

James 5:7-8, 10-11

Example of someone with no patience:

Sarah!

Read Genesis 15:5, Genesis 16:1-10, Genesis 21:1-2

Take special note of Genesis 21:1-2: The Lord took note of Sarah as he had said he would; he did for her as he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated.

– Notice that God held up his end of the bargain, even though Sarah did not.

– Sarah tried to handle the situation; she did not trust in God.

Example of someone with great patience:

Saint Monica!

The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his Baptism.

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine, is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.

Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions.

– Saint Monica showed patience for 40 years! And in the end, her husband, mother-in-law and son converted to the faith.

– Patience does NOT mean acceptance. Saint Monica was not content with Augustine’s behavior, waiting for him to convert. She shed tears, followed him around, begged and pleaded with him to reform his life.

– Without Saint Monica’s patience, we may have never had one of the great doctors of the Church. More importantly, the world may have been short three Christians.

We demand patience from God (“God, be patient with me..” “God, one day I’ll get it right, just wait..”

But do we give it to others?

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2 responses to “Fruits of the Spirit: Patience

  1. sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. hollisonjourney says:

    Thanks Sandra! Stop by any time!

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