Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We’ve been reflecting on St. Paul’s Ode to Love – I Corinthians 13.
We all live with people who get on our nerves
who are annoying, irritating–
an elderly parent who moves too slowly or complains all the time,
a teen who won’t clean up his room,
a neighbor who throws cigarette butts in front of your house,
a guy at the office who keeps talking about sex,
a spouse who won’t communicate,
the guy behind you who honks two seconds after the light changes.
To love someone is to be patient with them.
We often expect the people we live with to be patient with us
but we often don’t return the favor.
Patience with people is a fine quality of love.
It helps us be humble instead of wanting things our way.
Someone once said to me, “Lower your expectations, Bob.”
That’s good advice.
Henri Nouwen, a wonderful Catholic spiritual writer of the past generation spent his last year’s at L’Arche communities attending patiently to little people who couldn’t dress themselves or do other essential things.
He was able to love even those who appeared to be unlovable. Mother Theresa and her sisters cared in a similar fashion for the poorest of the poor of Calcutta who had little to return.
Being patient with others in our life we’ll oftentimes enable them to change slowly, imperceptibly.
And it changes us too. It allows to see into the hearts of others and draw out of them the goodness they may not see in themselves.
All this involves a commitment. — patience. A willingness to stick it out.
To bloom where we’re planted.
Remember, it’s the sand in the oyster that produces a pearl of great price.
Who in our lives could we be more patient with?
Remember, it’s the irritating sand in the oyster that produces a pearl.
Good and gracious God,
teach us to be patient
as You are patient with us.
Teach us the many facets of love.
Teach us to learn how to love as You love us.
priest / writer