Because We Must “Be Patient. . .Until the coming of the Lord”

Third Sunday of Advent,
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

In School of Community Tuesday night, we gave ourselves an assignment: Each day this week, we are to pick a person to whom we offer up our suffering so we might ease theirs. This discipline has led me to examine exactly what I think constitutes suffering. I’m an employed, happily married mother of two healthy, happy sons. We own a cozy, well-heated home in a safe community. We have full cupboards and stomachs. We are surrounded by wonderful friends.

And so I have come to realize this week how ungrateful I can be for all the blessings God offers. My “suffering” this week has included: driving behind a slow-moving truck on my way to work, or having to forage in the car for lunch in boxes of crackers and clementines because I forgot my lunch money. By Friday night, a friend was telling me that every time I spoke with him this week I’d seemed deeply irritated.

How far I am from the sentiment of this reading for the third Sunday of Advent. How much I need to hear these words.

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

  • Katie

    Interesting, Allison. I've actually been realizing lately that I'm kind of the opposite. I come from a family where, no matter how bad the hand you're dealt, you suck it up and plow through it. No point in complaining, no point in crying, since you can't change it anyway. (Not that we're a hateful, unsupportive lot – I realized I sort of made my fam sound awful there…) I've been noticing lately that there are things in my life that are probably legitimately classified as "suffering," that for years I've been chalking up to "well, that's life." And I'm coming to the conclusion that I might be a healthier person if I learned to say, "yep, I'm suffering here, but I'm going to give it over to God to handle", rather than just pretending like it doesn't need any handling at all. Obviously I don't want to swing too far in the other direction and descend into overdramatic self-martyrdom…but am I making any sense here?

  • Allison

    Katie: Thanks for responding. Yes, you are making sense! I think that as we grow in our faith lives, Christ can help balance us out, whether we err on too much stoicism or too much drama. Blessings to you on the journey.

  • Frank

    I generally recommend reading (or re-reading) the Book of Job too whenever the world has me down. Job is a type of Christ, who was blameless and yet suffered.

  • Allison

    An interesting addendum here. At School of Community last night, when we were giving our "updates" of how our weeks went, I commented that my "suffering" was such small stuff. My friend noted wisely that often it is harder to endure these small suffering. Far easier to be noble and holy in the face of great suffering. Having endured some biggies in my life, I do believe she is right. Just as most of the Church's calendar is ordinary time, so too most of our lives are lived out in ordinary moments. How powerful it would be if we could lift up our small sufferings to others in those moments.