Patience and Mercy
Patience and Mercy
‘The greatest power is hidden in patience. I see that patience always leads to victory, although not immediately; but that victory will become manifest after many years.’ (1514)
During this fast, we are crying out for many ‘fruitless’ ones who have wandered far from their home in Christ. We beg God to manifest His Mercy to them. At the same time, we know that God is priming us to be merciful, an answer to our own prayers. He intends to fertilize and break up the fallow ground of all involved!
Yet we struggle. Loved ones possess the dignity of their will. Especially with family members, we understand that our best intentions can be motivated by our impatience and desire to control them. My will be done, O God, now…
So we die daily to our divinity; we entrust the beloved to God. We surrender our native control and anxiety. Safe in Jesus’ care and timing, the beloved then becomes one whom we can pray for in the specifics of his/her need. That is where listening for the healing word can help.
(S)he is unlike any other. The Father knows him/her even better than you do. Parents, remember you are only the co-creators of your child. The Father is the Parent, capital P, both his/her Creator and Redeemer. So listen for the Father’s voice on behalf of your beloved. And pray accordingly. You may begin praying according to his/her need, not your own, a great preparation for the face-to-face time you may have at some point.
St. Faustina writes:
‘We should pray and ask for light in order to know how to deal with each one, for each soul is a world of its own.’ (568)
So God employs the vast expanses of time between our will and His for the beloved to change us. We learn how to surrender the other and to pray; we learn how to pray with a more attentive ear for the other, and a more merciful heart.
We discover something essential about Christianity–patience. Edith Stein writes: ‘Waiting in patient expectation is the essence of the spiritual life.’
How terrible is that! I hate to wait for anything, especially when a loved one’s future and well-being is in peril. So we pray harder; God always hears the cry for Mercy as we surrender a loved one (yet again) to His care.
That frees you from an intolerable burden. And it frees you for an inspired expectancy. God will act! Through prayerful surrender, we can wait patiently with undiminished expectation.
We are becoming like Abraham, who ‘did not waver through unbelief concerning the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.’ (Rom. 4:20, 21)
Patient prayer changes us, and makes a merciful way for loved ones. My entire family prayed for decades for our dear, unbelieving father, without any sign of a crack in his armor. In the last 48 hours of life, he was quietly asked by my brother (for the 549th time, I reckon) if he wanted to receive Jesus. Dad clearly agreed and was welcomed by Jesus face-to-face a few hours later. Our grief at his passing was superseded by gratitude. Our God saves!
‘I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word, I put my hope.’ (Ps. 130:5) ‘I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong, and take heart, and wait for the Lord.’ (Ps. 27:13, 14)
‘Patience, hard thing! Father, grant us Mercy, that we would be changed by the time gap between our will and Yours. Show us how You are changing us. Please teach us to pray in ways that please you. Incline our ear to Your stirrings on behalf of the beloved. Teach us to wait with expectation, not despair. You are God, You are good, and You want all to know Your Mercy.’
Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.