Patience: The Natural Virtue

Friday, November 16, 2012 — Week of Proper 27, Year 2

Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 1093

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office (p. 993)

Psalms 102 (morning) 117:1-32 (evening)

Malachi 3:1-12

James 5:7-12

Luke 18:1-8

I like the invitation to use the natural rhythms of the earth’s seasons as an invitation to patience, as James speaks of today. An impatient farmer is an oxymoron. Farmers plant and wait. They will remove weeds and augment with fertilizer. But ultimately they must wait for the mystery of growth. Growth happens.

It is like that, isn’t it. We plant the seeds of divine life. Then we wait. When we see our weeds, we pull them up in confession. We augment the Spirit with fertilizer — we pray, we worship, we study, we do our best, we give. And we wait. Growth happens.

Anything important takes time. Nobody ever got in physical shape with one day’s exercise, no matter how seriously applied. Most of our great weaknesses have probably taken time too. Habits don’t happen overnight. So, like patient farmers reclaiming poor land, we do the gentle work of building up and renewing, then planting, watching, watering, weeding and fertilizing. We accept the gifts beyond our power, — sun and air and rain. Quietly, mysteriously below our awareness, life is springing up. Tenderly at first. Then with more confidence.

Anything that is related to health and wellness is probably something that takes time, patience and a bit of faithfulness. “Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.”

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