‘By your patience possess your souls,’ (Lk 21:19)
Patience is something we often advise others to implement, yet when it comes to its implementation in our own daily lives and challenges we are somewhat hesitant and resistant. Nevertheless, patience (just as all Christian virtues) is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and a gift from God.
‘Salvation is in Patience,’ writes St Luke the Surgeon, of Crimea. He tells us that ‘Patience makes us perfect,’ that the true sign of an apostle (2 Cor 12:12, 2 Cor 6:4, 1 Tim 6:11) and a person of God is that of patience. ‘We need to get used to enduring, trying not to complain, and of course, asking God for help,’ for it ‘is pleasing to God for us to ask for patience, and God will help every Christian who calls out to Him from under the weight of his own cross.’ (St Luke the Surgeon) We pray the words of St Ephraim the Syrian during Great Lent, ‘O Lord and Master of my life, grant the spirit of patience to me thy servant. Amen.’
Patience, as with all fruits of the Holy Spirit coincides with repentance, for repentance is the Christian way of life. Patience is strongly linked to repentance because each and every day we all make mistakes and fall into sin (Rom 3:23) but a key factor of Christian witness is our daily, patient and humble struggle against our passions and ego: ‘Do not be surprised that you fall every day ; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience.’(St John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent)
‘So in every test, let us say Thank You my God, because this was needed for my salvation,’ St Paisios the Athonite tel ls us. God, out of His boundless love and mercy for humankind is in continuous dialogue with each of us on a personal level: guiding, challenging, healing, sanctifying and renewing our lives. It remains for us to thus enter into this dialogue, with ears to listen (Matt 11:15) with humility and patience, in order to grow in the love of our Lord. (Eph 3:17-19)
– Many thanks to Fr Christodoulos Christodoulou for sharing his thoughts on Patience in the video below