Because Christ Waits Patiently



I saw this posted yesterday somewhere: “Forget Christmas or Easter. Independence Day is the most important holiday of the year and will have a greater impact on world history as it serves to remind people for millenia that nations are ruled by the consent of the governed.” My first thought? This person is delusional. My second thought? I need to pray for them.

Why delusional? Well isn’t it obvious? Saying that an experiment in governing that is only 236 years old trumps the Greatest Story Ever Told, which is roughly 2010 years old, and which spawned many, if not most of the ideals on which the United States was founded, is kind of silly. To me anyway.

But then my conscience panged me and I thought to just pray for the person too. Because even though we are lost, or worse we just wander away, the Shepherd waits patiently for each one of us. And even more astoundingly, He looks for our return to Him because of a love for us that is so profound, so undeserved, and yet so desired by us, that we are amazed and grateful when He welcomes us prodigals back home.

Macarius the Great, one of the Desert Fathers, wrote a homily (in the 4th century!) in which he explains the depth of this love as follows,

The Lord, indeed, is the Lover of mankind; so full of tender compassion whenever we turn completely toward Him and are freed from all things contrary. Even though we, in our supreme ignorance, childishness, and tendency toward evil, turn away from true life and place many impediments along our own path because we really do not like to repent, nevertheless, He has great mercy on us. He patiently waits for us until we will be converted and return to Him and be enlightened in our inner selves that our faces may not be ashamed in the Day of Judgment.

If that seems difficult and troublesome to us because practicing virtue is hard, but, more so, because of the insidious suggesting of the adversary, still He is very full of compassion, long-suffering and patient as He waits for our conversion. And when we do sin, He is ready to lift us up, for He desires our repentance.

And when we fall, He is not ashamed to take us back, as the Prophet says, “When men fall, do they not rise again? Or if one turns away, does he not return?” (Jer. 8:4) We only have to have a sincere heart and live in vigilance and be converted immediately after seeking His help and He Himself is most ready to save us. For He looks for our ardent will, as best we can, to turn toward Him. When we show good faith and promptness glowing from our desiring, then He works in us a true conversion.

That first paragraph describes me to a T, or at least it did. And it is similar to what St. Paul wrote in his letter to Titus when he writes,

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of His mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ Our Savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Thanks be to God. And so from one lost sheep that was found, to another that still wanders, I said a little prayer that they may find their way safely home too.

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  • Athos

    To be a card-carrying member of Modernity / Post- modernity in good standing, one must abjure having any interest in anything that might smack of sounding like Tradition (w/the capital 't'), that is, wisdom that before 30-40 years ago was such common sense that it went without saying it was good for the individual, for families, for local societies and cultures. I.e., getting married "for the long haul," having and raising children not in a value-free environment but in one where we did not let go of their hands in foolhardy ways, and caring in neighborly ways for those down the street.Look just for a moment at the second item: raising children to acquire the values of we want them to have rather than their "own" values. The 1970's had its "values clarification" movement which meant letting go of childrens' hands so they could brew up their own, as though this was the end-all, be-all of cultural importance. What if we taught chemistry this way?"Okay, here's the lab. Go in and create your own compounds. If you happen to blow yourself up … well, at least it was an authentic search!"Nuff said for now. 'Guess I'm getting cabin fever. Cheers

  • Ruth Ann

    Frank, thank you for praying for the lost. They are many. I'd like to shake them and say, "Wake up!" But prayer is probably the best approach.

  • Stefanie

    From today's Divine Office "Be still before the LORD and wait in patience." (Psalm 37)As I face a week of unique challenges, I certainly needed to hear this today — and also your reminder, Frank. Assuredly, as He waits for us with patience. Like others here, He was so very very patient with me. My motivation for what I do now is simply gratitude for the patience He had with me. I sense that those who come here have that same 'motivation'!So we must also be willing to dedicate ourselves to a prayer that will "still" us, will encourage the need in ourselves for patience. We are surrounded by so much negativity in the secular and religious media…or as friends/family members/acquaintances struggle to hold onto what they have (by way of home, job, finances). Even more than ever, these are the time that we Christians MUST engage in faithful daily prayer. For months now, I find myself literally clinging to my rosary day and night so that I am reminded of the importance of prayer — in fact, my rosary is now always in my pocket. Just by randomly – throughout the day–touching it with my fingers– calms me down.

  • Terry Fenwick

    Frank, I keep reading and saying, "This one is your best, Frank! This is great! This is terrific!!!" Well, guess what? "This one is your best, Frank! "This is great! This is terrific." It has GOD in the center and has so much heart – that it broke mine! Be patient with me – I am no Pollyanna and I do mean what I say. Soon I will be reading Webster's and Allison's and I know you are all great.