Published November 27, 2017
Advent is a season of preparation, anticipation and waiting. It’s a time to stretch and strengthen a particularly stubborn, and sometimes weak, “muscle”—patience.
In his Letter to the Galatians, St. Paul lists patience among other fruits of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (5:22-23).
St. Thomas Aquinas, in the “Summa Theologiae,” argues that patience is a virtue. He quotes St. Augustine: “The virtue of the soul that is called patience, is so great a gift of God, that we even preach the patience of him (God) who bestows it up on us.”
Patience is both a gift from God and a “muscle” to be worked. A virtue is a “habitual and firm disposition to do good,” reads the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1833). “The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts and perseverance in struggle,” the catechism continues (No. 1839).
What deliberates acts will you take this Advent to grow in patience?
Better get a head start—the pre-Christmas workout won’t last long, Advent is a bit shorter this year. The fourth week of Advent is only a day long, Sunday—it’s also Christmas Eve, as Christmas falls on a Monday.