We are virtuous to the extent that we are patient. Patience is the acid test for maturity. St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) wrote that patience “is the very heart of love.” It doesn’t get more basic or more crucial than that!
Ryan and Mary-Rose Verret write a blog on family life at http://www.ncregister.com/blog/verret. It’s my pleasure to share their latest on the virtue of patience, “You Can’t Learn to Hit a Ball by Swinging a Bat.” Enjoy!
“This year our family’s New Year resolution is to work on the virtue of Patience. Here is the definition prominently displayed on our small kitchen chalkboard:
Patience is the capacity to accept delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
“Patience . . . the problem with asking God for help to grow in Patience is that practicing it necessarily includes opportunities to grow in it. There is no other way around it.
“You can’t learn to hit a ball by swinging a bat. There has to be a ball to hit. Over and over again.
“So how are we doing? We have hit a few fly balls, we missed a few, and we are working on our swing. In this effort we, as parents, have discovered the connection between mercy and baseball. We root for our favorite players to succeed every time. We want everyone (including ourselves) to be perfect. Now. Mercy, however, allows for growth and acknowledges that no one is perfect. Patience and mercy go hand in hand. The more we are patient and merciful towards others the more we are able to calmly and skillfully remove the blinders, the plank, “the bat” from our own eyes.
“As patient and merciful parents we understand that we cannot expect a two-year-old never to spill juice, a four-year-old never to fall off his bike, or a six-year-old always to say the right thing. Does this mean that we stop trying to help our children grow into adults? No. It means that we expect them to make mistakes and we help them to learn from them.
“This insight has allowed us to rest heavily on God’s mercy. Resting in His Mercy has opened our hearts up to patience and being merciful to others. Check back with us in a year and perhaps with God’s help, and our children’s curve balls, we will hit a homerun.”