Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M., The Christophers’ Board of Directors
The Patience of God
St. Augustine once said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Everyone wants to have wisdom. We want to understand the complexities and nuances of life and be capable of acting accordingly; but sometimes we lose sight of the tremendous amount of patience needed to gain such wisdom. One might say that the first step towards wisdom is to understand and cultivate patience within ourselves, and the best way to do that is to consider the immense patience of God.
In The Christophers’ short online video entitled “The Patience of God,” Father Jonathan Morris explains that God’s patience manifests itself at special times that he calls “God moments.” These are moments when we sense the hand of God and realize that, no matter how difficult life has been, God has always been by our side.
Father Morris offers an example of a God moment that occurred while he was waiting for a train at Manhattan’s busy Penn Station. A man came up to him asking for money to buy breakfast. Father Morris told the man he would not give him money but instead would be willing to buy him breakfast right there at the station. The man said this wouldn’t work because he always bought a particular breakfast at a different place down the road. Giving in to what he perceived as the man’s creativity in trying to cajole money out of him, Father Morris reached into his pocket for a bill only to find that he didn’t have anything lower than a twenty.
Father Morris says, “By this time I was already committed, and I just felt an inspiration – maybe I should just give him a chance. I said, ‘Here. Take this money, but bring me back the change.’” Several minutes passed and suddenly the man reappeared and approached Father Morris with the receipt for his breakfast and the entirety of the change. Father Morris said to the man, “Sir, you don’t know how much you’ve blessed me today. I am a Catholic priest.” The man asked, “What’s that?” Father Morris explained, “It’s kind of like a pastor.” With astonishment, the man said, “You’re a minister?” Then he got down on his knees, raised his hands, and declared, “I won the Jesus lottery!”
This beautiful, funny, and unexpected exchange was truly a God moment. It was a wonderful reminder for Father Morris that God will never stop surprising us with the good that exists in people. And for that man who asked for money for breakfast, it was a powerful example of the joy God has in store for those who follow the right path.
Moments like these are profound manifestations of God’s patience at work in our lives, and they are proof that He knows and understands our hearts and can send the right people into our lives even for passing exchanges that can light our way. It’s important to remember that it also takes patience on our part to appreciate such moments. When we exercise that patience and look for those God moments, we gain the wisdom that will allow us to accomplish amazing things in this world.
Understanding the patience of God strengthens our faith and teaches us to be patient with others and look for opportunities to bestow little gifts that lead to surprise in the goodness of humanity at the most unexpected moments. Appreciating, enjoying, and taking part in creating those moments is the surest manifestation of wisdom in our lives.
For free copies of the Christopher News Note PRACTICING PATIENCE, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org