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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

By Father Lorenzo Scupoli

“If you wish always to press forward on the path of virtue without stopping, you should pay great attention to things which may serve as chances for acquiring virtue, and never let them slip out of your hands. Therefore those are ill-advised who do everything in their power to avoid obstacles in the path of virtue, in spite of the fact that these might have helped towards success in their progress. For example, if you wish to gain the habit of patience, you should not avoid the people, things and circumstances which particularly try your patience. Meet them with good will and then resolve to submit to their unpleasant effect on you, but at the same time prepare yourself to suffer them with unshakeable calmness of spirit. If you do not act thus, you will never learn patience.

“You should adopt the same attitude towards any work which displeases you, either in itself or because it is imposed on you by a man you dislike, or because it interferes with the work which you do like. In other words, you must not avoid it but, on the contrary, must undertake it without digging in your toes, and must do and finish it through, as though it were the most welcome work, never letting your heart be troubled by it, especially by the thought that, were it not for this business, you would completely be at peace. Otherwise you will never learn to bear the afflictions you will meet; nor will you find the true peace you seek by running away from such things, obviously through self-indulgence, for peace does not dwell in self-indulgent hearts.

“I advise you to do the same in relation to your thoughts, which at times invade you and trouble your mind with memories of human injustices and other inappropriate things. Do not stifle them or drive them away, but let them leave you of their own accord, not through your opposition, but through the patience with which you endure them.”
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