The Charitable Man is Patient with His Family and Friends

patient with those closest

Let’s be clear on just what patience is. Some similar words and phrases are tolerance, easiness in the face of frustration, being non-critical and the like. And, impatience is intolerance, displeasure, exasperation, touchiness and so on.

Can you think of any instances where you might have been impatient and frustrated with friends and family? If so, it might mean that you think a lot more of yourself and less of your friends and family. You may lack humility. You might have a stuck up, “better than thou” attitude toward your friends; a warped self-esteem. Some may even say you are “spoiled” and have to have your way. And, think about this; are you taking for granted the Heavenly Father’s patience with you? Have you tested his patience?

So, what must we do to overcome impatience with someone and turn it into patience. Well, start getting rid of being self-centered and selfish and replace them with being humble, then add some understanding and respect for the person and that person’s needs and point of view. The virtue of charity also embraces kindness and politeness. We should keep all of these traits mentioned here on our mind, in focus and in practice to make sure we are patient with family and friends.

Your family members and your friends are all different; they have different personalities and different priorities which could be far distant from your personality and priorities. Think for a moment what life would be like if everyone else in the world thought and acted exactly like you, had the same priorities and interests. Wow! How boring would that be! So, understand that we are all different and should be respected and appreciated for those differences as long as they are charitable,  prudent and just.

This brings to mind the fruits of the Holy Spirit which the traditions of the Catholic Church list twelve (CCC 1832). Let’s extract those that have direct connection to the lesson at hand. They are the following seven: charity (love), peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. You can acquaint yourself with the remaining five by going to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1832.

A brief definition of these seven are:

Charity (Love) – The greatest of all virtues, the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

Peace – Defined by St. Augustine as “the tranquility [calmness] of order” and which is the work of justice (fairness, level playing field).

Patience – As stated above, tolerance, easiness in the face of frustration, being non-critical.

Kindness – Kind-heartedness, thoughtfulness, being polite.

Goodness – Decency, honesty.

Gentleness – Calmness, softness.

Self-control – Self-discipline, willpower (mind rules flesh).

From The Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales:

 A brave man can easily bear with contempt, slander and false accusation from an evil world; but to bear such injustice at the hands of good men, of friends and relations, is a great test of patience.

Catechism 2843: Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end, become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

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