Begin Cultivating Patience this Advent Season

Is 40:1-5,9-11; 2Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8

A single mother of five children was sharing with me her woes and struggles to meet the many needs of her children, face her own health and inner struggles, and respond to all the many distressing events in our world and Church today. She said to me, “Do all these things happening to me and in the world mean that Jesus is coming soon? I cannot wait for Him to come soon and end all these.”

Her words moved me to reflect on what this Advent season is all about. It is not just about waiting for the glorious return of Jesus Christ but also a time to cultivate patience in our lives. The waiting of Advent is a patient and enduring one in which we patiently endure many things while waiting for the Lord.

St. Peter provides us an appropriate three-point program for the Advent season in 2Pet 3:8-14.

First, Advent invites us to have faith in the patience of God towards us and the motive for that patience, “He (God) is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Even as He fulfills His promises to us, God is always patient with us to bring all of us to true repentance for our sins. In His patience, He offers us time to amend our lives, saving truths that make us free, forgiveness for our sins, healing for our hurts, strength to repent from our sins, abundance of graces to do His will with love, and perseverance in endurance.   

Lest we take this patience of God towards us for granted, St. Peter adds two other things that must accompany our faith in the patience of God. Because God is patient with us for the sake of our repentance, we must “conduct ourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord.”

Secondly, Advent is a time of continuous effort for holiness and single-hearted devotion to Jesus Christ by the grace of God. We correspond to the patient love of God and do not give in to fatalism, discouragement, or despondency. We use this period of grace to participate more deeply in the holiness of Jesus Christ so that we “can be found without spot or blemish before Him, at peace.” We must persevere in this striving for holiness as our fundamental vocation from baptism.

Lastly, Advent is a time to practice patience and endurance. As we hold on to God’s patient love for us, we strive to grow in holiness in the face of frightful and terrifying things all around us, “The heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire…the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire.” (2Pt 3:8-14) We cannot completely avoid these frightening things and experiences on this side of life. We endure them with the grace of God as we trust in God’s patience toward us.

God is so patient with us as He fulfills His promises to us that He did not send His only begotten Son without first sending us John the Baptist, His precursor, to prepare us for true repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The divine patience for the sake of our repentance is manifested in John’s message and in his “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.” This divine patience reaches its climax in the gift of the Holy Spirit, “I have baptized you with water; He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”(Mk 1:1-8)

In and through the Holy Spirit, our patient God is with us and ever laboring for our ongoing sanctification and molding us more into perfect images of Jesus Christ. The primary mission of the Spirit is to slowly reproduce Jesus within us through His grace and in the events of daily life. We only have to fully cooperate in this patient and imperceivable action of God in our souls.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if God is so patient with us as He fulfills His promises to us, are we patient with ourselves and others as we also strive to fulfill our promises made to Him in holy baptism? Are we patient in the face of the challenges and struggles of our lives? Have we allowed impatience in any way to weaken our striving for holiness and diminish our longing for the Lord? This Advent is a good time to begin again to cultivate our patience.

There are so many ways in which we can begin to cultivate and grow in patience this Advent season. We can grow in patience when we have no visible results for our prayers, sacrifices, and efforts. We can practice patience when we experience our many personal failures and see the failures of others. We can mature in patience when we feel helpless in the face of all the evil and injustice spreading in our world. We can practice patience as we see our Church riddled with heresies and scandals. Our patience is strengthened when we endure many trials and temptations and overcome personal struggles. We grow in patience as we love the ones who irritate and annoy us.

Our patient God will provide us many moments to grow in this virtue of patience as well as the graces of being patient like Him. Without this virtue, we cannot fulfill the promises we made to Him in baptism. The devil will do anything to bring us to impatience with ourselves, others, and even with God because he knows that this will bring us anxiety and frustration in our spiritual lives and thus make us blind to the many graces and new opportunities that God is offering to us. We have no choice but to cultivate our patience if we are going to receive the many gifts of our patient King of Love when He comes to us in this world of instant gratification and immediate success, “Through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.”(Acts 14:22)

God’s patient love is offered to us in each Eucharistic celebration. He is so patient with all of us, even with those who reject His love and deny His Real Presence in the Eucharist. Despite all the graces for repentance and holiness that we have wasted, God continues to pour out His Spirit on us, the patient and ever-acting God who never stops sanctifying and preparing for the return of the glorious Christ.

Let each Holy Communion intensify our hunger for Jesus so that we keep our desire for His glorious return alive in us. Our Eucharistic Lord shares with us in this sacrament His own patient love for us and for every single soul.

We just cannot take this divine patience for granted!

Let each sacramental grace from each Holy Communion also help us grow in holiness as we cultivate and grow in patience with ourselves, with others, and with the distresses of life. This is the only way that we can receive all that God has promised to us in this life and in the life to come.

Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at

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