This article is the third in a seven series discussion on the attributes of a Chaldean apostle. A Chaldean apostle is patient and perseverant. They are willing to accept in their mind and heart that they will be required to wait and endure for His sake. By having such faith the Chaldean apostle’s behavior will naturally change and begin to better reflect the Kingdom of God. Therefore, this series will examine the attributes of behavior that demonstrate the grace of our Lord and our choice to be a follower of Christ.
The term "patience" has several meanings in the dictionary. It can mean the bearing of pain or trials calmly and without complaint; not being hasty or impetuous; or being steadfast despite opposition or adversity and showing forbearance under provocation or strain.
Most think of patience as something benign, like not being hasty or impetuous. However, unlike the popular definition of patience, the Holy Bible teaches us that pain, trials, adversity, and strain are also involved (James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 2:20, Romans 5:3-4, 12:12). In the Bible, perseverance is often mentioned in the same verse as patience (Matthew 24:13, Romans 5:3-4, Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 10:23, 10:36, James 1:2-4). Why do these two traits go hand in hand? What is the difference between them?
Nothing can be achieved without some degree of patience and perseverance. It may as well be identified as natural law. The very dimension and flow of time dictates this.
As Chaldeans we are accustomed to an endless list of being strained and challenged. We are a persecuted culture forced from our homes, lands, and to those weaker than us, away from our faith. Fortunately, there are more than many Chaldeans who stand steadfast against the adversity. We persevere.
For those who lose patience it is often and in all likelihood because they feel thwarted. That feeling is unpleasant and the danger is getting carried away by it. Having faith in our Lord and His purpose for us fills us with the ability to remain calm and understanding rather than lash out when feeling thwarted. Our faith and our Church teachings guide us from being carried away in anger and hostility. It is natural for these feelings to brew and later grow towards vengeance and hatred. Being close to Christ helps us manage our feelings. Being close to Christ is like watering down dry brush before a spark ignites a wildfire.
To cultivate patience we should practice mindfulness of God’s ordination over all. Everything that happens to us is meant to happen. Anytime we are challenged, we should recognize it as a test and opportunity to strengthen ourselves and become more worthy. In that moment is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about ourselves and how frail we are as humans. Are our expectations about behavior out of line with what we insist on from others? Are we so arrogant and vain to think others should immediately agree or serve us? In the end, do we react with anger and irritability, do we lack self-control and compassion, or are we kind and merciful.
The art of bringing our full attention to bear on the moment at hand can be difficult. This is only possible with frequent prayer and the development of a faith that underscores everything is God’s providence.
Once we have acknowledged our weakness and God’s providence a new window opens. This new window gives rise to a more comforting and respectful temperament. The calmness derived from acknowledging the challenge creates a setting where communication thrives and considerate behavior prevails.
So, in order to be patient we must remember to give glory to God for the test which will reduce our arrogance and allow us to genuinely communicate with understanding and sympathy.
St Francis de Sales brought 60,000 lost sheep back to the Catholic faith and he didn't get them back overnight. Nor was it an easy task for him. Catholics were looked upon with hatred and fear by the local community in Chablais.
In fear of his life, Francis would travel at night to move across the region. He would often be thrown out of his lodgings and made to sleep out in the open at the mercy of the elements. Nor did he face a warm reception from the few Catholics that lived in the town either. During one of his homilies, not liking what he was saying, the whole congregation disrespectfully walked out in tandem. Many times he celebrated mass to an empty church. Yet through all this, Francis kept his cool and continued to minister to people with patience and perseverance.
Four years into his ministry, people slowly began to be won over by this kind and gentle man and a slow trickle of people began to return to the Church. Within a few months the trickle had turned into a stream and then a flood. By the time Francis died, almost the entire population of Chablais had become Catholic again.
If we wish to bring people back to the faith or understand how we feel as Chaldeans, we need to understand that it is not going to be an easy task. We will face a lot of opposition, many times from people within our family or Church itself who don't seem to fully understand that the goal is building God's kingdom and not their own, and therefore engage in destructive, petty politics.
We have to be patient and loving with such people and with everybody else who persecutes us or opposes us. We must believe that God will work the same miracles through us that He worked through St. Francis de Sales if we persevere until the end.
Often we believe we deserve or want something that we are not getting and either lose patience or quit. Our arrogance blind’s us into thinking we know what is best. As Jesus teaches, “No loving father would give a stone or a snake to his hungry son if he asked for a piece of bread or a fish.”
Jesus used the analogy in Matthew 7 to underscore God’s readiness to give good things to His children when they ask Him. He wanted them to have complete confidence in the Father's provision for their needs.
Sometimes, however, it may seem as if the Lord has given us "stones" instead of "bread." But in His infinite wisdom, He actually is working through our circumstances to give us something far better than what we requested.
Chaldean apostles would do themselves a great service by remembering these two inspirational poems of patience and perseverance. Both of these poems were written by unknown poets who obviously understood the purpose of patience and perseverance.
God Grant Me….
I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't
granted, it is earned.
I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to
make you fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy in life. God said
No. I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things
I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as God
loves me. God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead
tell your storm how big your GOD is.
I asked God for Everything
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak,
That I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity,
That I might do better things.
I asked for riches,
That I might be happy;
I was given poverty,
That I might be wise.
I asked for power,
That I might have the praise of others;
I was given weakness,
That I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things,
That I might enjoy life;
I was given life,
That I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for,
But everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself,
My unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people,
Most richly blessed.
Frank Dado is a student of Theology at the University of San Diego. He enjoys the science of psychology and philosophy along with sports and writing. He has written many reviews and essays on the philosophy of everyday living and the science of behavior.