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I Need to Practice What I Teach

Last week, I was visiting my family and needed to take my mom to her doctor’s appointment.  Knowing that she was suffering from back pain, I was a bit concerned about the parking.  Thankfully the hospital provides free valet parking. 

However, the old saying ‘you get what you pay for quickly entered my mind’.  I calmly waited for our turn and walked my mom to the doctor’s office.  When she was done, we went back to the waiting area.  At this point, one attendant was on duty and the waiting area was getting crowded. 

I looked at the adjacent parking lot and saw my mom’s car.  Turning to her I said, “Let me ask him for the car keys and I will go get the car”.  Smiling, she looked at me and replied, “Patience is a virtue”.  I laughed saying, “Mom, you are right—I need to practice what I teach”. 

Indeed, patience will be the virtue all of us will be practicing in the next month.  Patience means bearing present difficulties calmly.  It starts will remaining calm when the feeling of irritation or annoyance starts to arise within us.   

So, here is my recommendation for the week (month).  Take a few moments to list situations that may cause you to be impatient and then list how you will respond in the situation.  If you have a plan, it will enable you to be more responsive to God’s grace in the moment. Download our free worksheet to help you with this suggestion.

Being patient in small things will help us remain patient in big things when they come along. To continue our theme of virtuous saints, this week I’ll focus on a particular patient saint we can try to model ourselves after: St. Teresa of Calcutta. 

© Dinodia / The Bridgeman Art Library

Mother Teresa did some amazing things in her life on earth, many of which we may never know about because she did so much without complaint and without looking for recognition. Most of the things she did were small and not at all glamorous. Caring for the sick and dying that she picked up off the streets and out of the slums in India was not a job for the faint of heart, especially considering the poverty and destitution of those poor people lived in. It’s hard for us Americans to imagine. And although she had to have plenty of patience as she went about doing those unpleasant jobs with great humility, the best example of her patience was in her relationship with God. 

It wasn’t until after her death that the world discovered the secret to her patience: acceptance of suffering. After feeling Jesus call her to serve the poor of Calcutta, she never heard God’s voice again. She felt as if God had abandoned her, but she accepted it with a smile instead of becoming bitter. Her patient acceptance of suffering made her a saint and allowed her to share her joy with those she served and served with. This is a truly remarkable feat—to take on such a difficult task throughout the rest of her life and doing it always with a smile! May we ask Jesus to grant us patience as He did His servant, St. Teresa. 

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