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Patience

Summer is a time when we should take it slow. It is the season to sleep a little extra, to have a few unscheduled days and to do the things we love. Summer is the opportunity to get away from the constant stress of wanting to achieve and to be productive. As we have heard it said so many times before, we, Americans, have a hard time un-tethering ourselves from our work-stations and our computers. We all know that Europeans take much longer vacations than we do. We work harder than everyone else.

This incapacity to enjoy relaxation could be the symptom of another challenge we face – to be patient. I believe that the most frequently confessed sin is losing one’s temper or being impatient. Often people confess using the Lord’s name in vain. I point out to them that the real sin is not swearing but being frustrated and impatient. As a result of our impatience we use certain words and expressions. Both parents and children, old and young, confess their sins of impatience. When I lived in Milwaukee, a close friend had a plaque in her kitchen which read: “Lord, give me patience, but please hurry!”

Why do we get so impatient? I think that we get so impatient because we live in a culture of efficiency. Things work as we want them to. In most other parts of the world, things do not work. When they do work, people are grateful. On the other hand in our country things work without fail and we expect them to work. Life does not work that way. Particularly our relationships do not work the way we like them to. Since humans with free will are involved, we are unable to predict or control them. When things do not work, we get frustrated. As a group, we Americans have the lowest tolerance for frustration.

We also feel impatient because we are somehow under the impression that we control things. That is certainly an illusion and a delusion. We control nothing. I smile when TV weather men and women say, “We will give you a beautiful day tomorrow.” They can give us nothing. The only thing they can honestly say is: “There is an eighty percent probability that it will be a sunny day tomorrow.” Weather-forecasting is the only job where you can keep making mistakes and you will get a raise. More than any other people, we, Americans, believe that we can control things. Our affluence gives us a false sense of power. Probably we spend more money on insurance than anyone else. We believe in back-up plans and contingency strategies. We have to remind ourselves that life has no backup plan or insurance plan. When things go out of our control we get frustrated and upset.

The image that has always helped me in this regard is driving. When I am driving on the highway, I often think this way. I look at those people who weave through traffic at a hundred miles an hour putting everyone at risk and I think that they are stupid and so must be punished. I also feel annoyed by the slow-pokes who hold up the left lane. Then I say to myself, “If only the whole world would drive like me, the world would be perfect.” I know that it is unrealistic of me to expect that. In the same way, we get frustrated because people are not behaving the way we want them to. Expecting life to go our way all the time or people to do things our way is the surest means to make ourselves perpetually frustrated.

What is the solution then? All of us have to recognize that we are not in control. We cannot join Frank Sinatra and sing, “My way!” However, we know that our God who is in love with us is in control. Even if wicked people do bad things to us, even if life seems to take us in absurd directions, we know that this God will make everything right. As Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans, “Everything works unto good for those who love God.” When we can place our trust in Him and not in our own resources, then we can be patient. If we fail to trust, then we give in to worry and anxiety.

Remember that the word “patience” comes from the Latin word, “pati” which means “to suffer.” To be patient is to suffer. My sister who had a stroke six years ago has made tremendous progress. She is now able to walk with a walker. However, the last time I spoke to her, she ended the conversation with this plea: “Please pray that I have more patience. I thought by now I would have been completely back to my old self.”

Let us meditate on the patience of Our Lord Who suffered and died on the Cross without complaining or protesting. He knew that the Father would have the last laugh. The Father would raise Him from the dead and everything would be set right. Jesus trusted. Patience – we all need it. Let us put our complete trust in the Lord!

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

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8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel