MARIAN PRAYER GROUP

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Lessons

&

Our Lady of Emmitsburg

Speak to us

about

 

Patience

(Modified Opening Remarks from October 5, 2008 Marian Prayer Group

By Michael T. Sullivan, MD)

 

“ May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from His glorious power,

and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience,

while joyfully  giving thanks to the Father,

who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the Saints in the light.”

(Col 1:11-12)

 

“Patience” is a word that usually elicits a sense of neither joy nor relief, but rather a grimace and a groan.  It is actually a form of the moral virtue of fortitude and the word is derived from the Latin root word “patiens” meaning “suffering.”  If we were to reflect on Our Lord’s Passion or even read almost any of the lives of the Saints—St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Faustina, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque or St. Maximilian Kolbe—we would soon see that patience was an integral part in their pursuit of holiness.  The virtue of patience comes in degrees:  Firstly, in bearing difficulty without interior complaint; secondly, in using hardships to make progress in virtue; and finally and most extraordinarily, in desiring the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accepting them with spiritual joy.

 

God does not change!  He has been consistent in how He has formed His Saints in the past and in how He would like to form all of us now.  Our Lord emphasizes this in His Lessons to the world through Gianna Sullivan:

 

“I will be with you in all your trials.  Know that, when you experience anxieties, humiliation, disappointments, difficulties, temptations, injuries and sickness, endure them in patience.  I will strengthen you in virtue—the graces to be held for those who have confidence and love for Me, those who do not abandon their hope in Me.  My Saints all were purified in the same way.  It is so necessary to practice patience.  Where are you running that you must hurry to the finish line?...If you cross, you still have to wait for Me!...And after you have raced to that finish line, avoiding and darting around the obstacles instead of enduring them with patience, your journey with obstacles will only begin! (JOM, Vol IV, #48, August 3, 1992)  Thus, patience and endurance are necessary in order to remove the human ways from being obstacles to that which is Divine.” (JOM, Vol V, #20, Sept. 13, 1995)

 

God has been very patient with humanity, and He expects the same from us.  Our Lord in His Lessons teaches more about the virtue of patience:

 

“See how through patience I show My people how much I love them….Through your patience, show each other how much you love one another.  Begin with yourself.  Be patient with yourself as I guide you and show you how much you love yourself, so you will be able to show others how much you love them.  Mercy is the key to loving.  Take the step to mercy and cross the bridge of love.”  (JOM, Vol V, Oct 25, 1995)

 

Our Lady of Emmitsburg too has encouraged all her children to first be patient with themselves: 

 

“Little ones, do not be hard on yourself when you find you have made mistakes or have failed in responding to God’s Love.  Be loving and merciful towards yourself, for God is Love and Mercy.  Only God is perfect….God loves you in your weakness and invites you to trust in Him so that you can grow in holiness and humility.  If you seek to love as God loves and to do His Will, God can turn your human weakness into a strong pillar to house great graces and virtues.  But if you have repugnance for your weakness, avoiding God’s Mercy, you will weaken; and the vices of self-pride and lack of patience will prevent God’s pillar of graces to rest with you.”  (OLOE, May 11, 1995)

 

Temptations are not sin; and in fact, it is through temptation and more specifically by our overcoming temptation for the love for God, that we are all provided multiple opportunities each day to grow in holiness.  But it can still be very frustrating to continually fail, in spite of our good intentions, and to continually have to confess those same weaknesses and sins.  However, Our Lady of Emmitsburg helps us to deal with this:

 

“If you experience temptations and struggles of life, turn to Jesus.  He will help you overcome these annoyances.  You will never be free from temptations in this life because there may be various circumstances, things and even people who may appeal to your weaknesses.  Keep your focus on Jesus, and by humility and patience you will become strong against the strains of this life and the spiritual enemies of your soul.  Correct what you can with loving action, and bear patiently the things which cannot be remedied.”  (OLOE, Nov 16, 1995)

 

Even when we think we are learning how to be patient with ourselves, it is often God with whom we are still being most impatient.  Being patient with God demands trust, and trust is not always an easy commodity to come by.  Our Lord teaches us in His Lessons:

 

“The secret of progress is patience.  Nothing will come to pass unless it is permitted by Me.  Everything shall be in accordance to Divine Providence….Just be in Me.  Rest, work in the patience of love, and give to Me all of yourself.  This is what I desire the most from My people.  I desire their intimacy in simplicity. (JOM, Vol IV, July 30, 1992)

“If you truly believe in Me and trust in Me, you would know that all things happen for a purpose in accordance with My desire, which is for your happiness.  Whether you think it is for your happiness or not, I tell you, everything happens for your good!  I tell you this so that you, My dearly loved people, will persevere in your journey with Me….Everything happens for a purpose in preparing you to share in My glory and to dwell with Me.”  (JOM, Vol I, July 17, 1989)

 

Being patient with God requires confidence in God.  Our Lady of Emmitsburg explains:

 

“The more confidence you place in His assistance, the more peace will penetrate your being and the more free you will be from the concerns of the world….Jesus is very present to you and He will protect you….Surrender in peace to His desires and accept with patience all He has planned for you.  He will free you.  This does not mean you will be exempt from trials and tribulations of all sorts, for these prepare you for eternal glory and allow you to grow in the perfection of His Holiness through meekness and humility.”  (OLOE, Nov. 12, 1998)

 

In this complex hi-tech and global environment where so many of us “little” and “ordinary” people feel so powerless and voiceless, our own anxiety and fear of the unknown can become tremendous obstacles.  However, Our Lord addresses this too, as He reassures us of our future which He knows full well:

 

“So many of My people experience anxiety.  They ponder when death shall be no more, and when there shall be never-failing health, infinite brightness and peace. (But)Peace will come in a day known well to the Lord.  (So)do what you need to do (now).  Work faithfully, and you shall gain your reward.  Endure with patience, and you shall see the end of evil.  I will protect you.  Come and penetrate deep into My Heart…Step out into My world of Love and try not to understand so much, as to walk by faith, trusting in the Triune God.”  (JOM, Vol IV, March 16, 1992)

 

“The fragrance that bears good fruit carefully and quietly unfolds in God’s time.  Many times, God’s time seems slow to mankind.  But according to God’s standard, time is eternity; and all that is good is molded and unfolds with the gentle stroke of the Father’s Hand….If you are ostracized, it does not mean you are bearing bad fruit….No, when you are scorned and troubled, mocked, ridiculed and slandered, the fruit you bear is fermenting from bitterness to savoring sweetness.  Therefore, be at peace when God allows you to be chastised and pressed through the mill of sweet graces.  Utilize prudence in all you do and say, and you shall see with the Eyes of God His loving Hand guiding each situation in your life.  Prudence teaches you to wait, to pray, and not to act on emotion, but out of love.”  (JOM, Vol V, Sept 13, 1995)

 

We live in a world where we seem to be flanked by evil on all sides, and evil seems to be winning, as we see nearly every societal institution—marriage, the family, the work place and corporate world, the financial systems, the educational and medical systems, the entertainment and information mediums, and often even the spiritual and religious arenas—all of these to various degrees, infiltrated and even permeated by greed, corruption and sin.  As a result, there are often great trials and tribulations imposed on many, if not most, of God’s children.  Yet, Our Lord in His Lessons reminds us:

 

“I wish for My people to bear their tribulations with patience.  Bear the offenses against you for God’s sake, your neighbor’s sake and the sake of yourself….Have compassion on those who do evil against you….If they do good, offer it to God.  If they do bad, pray for them, have compassion and try to help them….If someone offends you, bear it patiently for the love of God and in remission of your sins. Do not offend anyone!...Those who bear their tribulations with patience always keep their sins before their eyes, and therefore are not weakened.  It is a great virtue to overcome yourself….I tell you this because if you are in a state of love, compassion and patience, no matter what destruction were to happen, you would not be harmed.  It would not hurt you.”  (JOM, Vol 14, May 17, 1992)

 

A situation to which all of us can relate is being patient with our neighbor—whether that neighbor be a family member, a friend, an enemy or some unknown person.  This can be much easier said than done.  There is always a great temptation to try to defend ourselves.  Defending Our Lord, Our Lady and the Truth is very important and necessary, especially the Truth about such fundamental matters as the sanctity of life and the family.  However, there are times and circumstances when the defense of oneself appears to be best left to others or even to God Himself.  This was explained by Our Lady to St. Faustina Kowalska:

 

“Know, my daughter, that although I was raised to the dignity of the Mother of God, seven swords of pain pierced My Heart.  Don’t do anything to defend yourself; bear everything with humility; God Himself will defend you.”  (Diary of a Soul, 786)

 

Our Lady of Emmitsburg goes on to warn us in these end times about trying too hard to defend ourselves:

 

“My Son can do what He pleases, when He pleases, and to whom He pleases.  You are called to live in Christian unity and love.  You deface your Christian brothers and sisters when you try to defend your cause, and this is a tragic error.  What do you gain when you become obsessed in proving your motives are correct?  How do you know your incentives are from my Son, when in your heart you are filled with anger and self-righteousness?...But the truth is that my Son…reveals His Truth in people who are resigned to His Will in peaceful surrender and Christian love.”  (OLOE, Dec 8, 2002)

 

Our Lord Himself in His Lessons reinforces this point as He expresses His faithfulness to us, even when we may not always be faithful to Him:

 

“I shall guide you through all difficulties.  Rely alone on my guidance, not humanity.  Nothing is done without significance….I love all My people, and I will defend and protect My people at the appropriate time!  My people cannot understand My time, but I will be with those who are self-abandoned, even in moments when they turn away from Me in frustration, hurt and anger.” (JOM, Vol IV, #89, Sept, 15, 92)

 

“Eventually, all will pass from this world.  At your moment’s last breath, you will not have anything to defend you except My Mercy.”  (JOM, Vol IV, #92, April 3, 1992)

 

There are, however, those things that do deserve our defense.  Our Lady of Emmitsburg has invited us never to hesitate to come to God’s defense:

 

“Now I invite you to defend God’s ways through love and prayer and to avoid violence at all costs….Do not be afraid to take a risk for His cause.  Do not be reluctant in defending Him against those who insult Him.  Defend His interests and honor through love, not violence.  Imitate His Love for you.”  (OLOE, April 27, 1995)

 

“When my Son was persecuted and defamed, all those who surrounded Him scattered.  He was alone with no one to defend Him, no one to speak the Truth.  They all scattered.  So too it is today, even 2000 years later, that people like those in the past have decided still to try to ruin my Son’s Name….But as the Body of Christ, as you join together, you are the voice and you speak the Truth.  It is because of your faithfulness and devotion to my Son’s Most Sacred Heart and to my most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart that Truth is being revealed; and all of you are gathering together as one, in Love and in Peace, but speaking the Truth.  This is how my most Immaculate Heart triumphs!”  (OLOE, Nov 6, 2005)

 

The sanctity of life and the family always deserves our defense.  Our Lady of Emmitsburg encourages us:

 

“The Sacrament of God’s Love in marriage is for man and woman.  The fruit of this love is to bear children and to bring them up with good morals.  Look to the Holy Family as your example.  Children today are facing tremendous confusion and destructive circumstances from being surrounded by this horrible abomination from sexuality of the same gender.  Defend the family unit as God your Creator designed it. In order for the family to triumph, each family must pray every day as a family for the family.”  (OLOE, May 23, 1996)

 

However, in reference to defending oneself, Our Lady of Emmitsburg contradicts the way of the world as she maintains that:

 

“Anger, hatred, resentfulness, jealousy, malice and premeditated attempts to strip others of respect, dignity and self-esteem are the poisonous venoms to evil.  Silence is the shield and Love the sword to battle evil.  I invite you to live ways of charity, patience, kindness and love towards one another.  When you hurt others, you truly are hurting yourself.”  (OLOE, June 23, 1994)

 

To this analogy of shield and sword, Our Lord is His Lessons has added:

 

“Better not to have any knowledge of the Truth than to find it and not to acknowledge it!  The Truth is your sword.  Honesty is the weapon which will defend you in battle.  Always be on guard!”  (JOM, Vol II, #52, March 24, 1990)

 

“There is no need to justify yourself....Remain silent, prudent, and always discern in prayer when others turn against you.  Silence speaks.  Unless your silence would lend to an occasion of scandal to the weak, remain quiet and watchful, yet always loving.  (JOM, Vol IV, Jan. 24, 1992)  Silence will allow you to be ruled by God, and provide the way to flourish in the gifts of humility and divine charity.”  (JOM, Vol IV, Feb, 22, 1992)

“But if we hope for what we do not see,

we wait for it with patience.”

(Rom 8:25)

 

Finally, in her message on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, February 11, 2006, Our Lady of Emmitsburg summarizes why it is important to be patient, why it is important to persevere, why it is important to endure, why at times it is important to be silent, and why at other times it is important to defend:

 

“Because this is the Center of my Most Immaculate Heart, it is important that all my children—those who are afraid, those who are confused, and those who won’t stand up even if there be the sin of omission—that all of them must look to their Mother.  I am the Mother of all the children of this world.  See how I not only defended my Son, but how I also will defend the Truth, as I will defend you….Know that if you pray and if you love, if you are devoted to my Son through works of charity and love and through adoration and praise, if you strive to live in His Holy Will, and if you listen and accept change, then you too will stand tall and defend the Truth, and you will know that you are safe!”  (OLOE, Feb, 11, 2006)

 

So let us invite the entire Heavenly Court, all the celestial choirs of Angels and all the Saints, to join Our Lady here at the Center of her Immaculate Heart and throughout the whole world. Let us ask our Eternal Father to intervene, to bring about in each of us this change, to bring about in our world this new beginning about which He Himself as well as Our Lord and Our Lady of Emmitsburg have spoken, and to share with each of us the patience we need to persevere, to endure, and at times to remain silent and allow that silence to speak, even in the face of great persecution, and to defend when defense is warranted, especially when it comes to matters of “LIFE.”  

 

“Do not put us to shame,

but deal with us in your patience and in your abundant Mercy.”

(Dan 3:42)