In your patience possess/acquire your souls.” (Lk 21: 19)

What is patience? It is the power to wait. In Greek the word “patience,” ὑπομονή, literally means a “remaining behind”; a holding out, while awaiting someone or something – regardless, I might add, whether one knows who/what that someone or something is.

I must “acquire” my soul, my very life, our Lord tells me, through patience. That is to say, I become alive to God, responsive to God, and am able to grow in Him, through a willingness to await whatever He sends next, amidst the ambivalences and “not yets” of my here and now. “Hence,” writes the inimitable Hans Urs von Balthasar, “the importance of patience in the New Testament, which becomes the basic constituent of Christianity, more central even than humility: the power to wait, to persevere, to hold out, to endure to the end, not to transcend one’s own limitations, not to force issues by playing the hero or the titan, but to practice the virtue that lies beyond heroism, the meekness of the lamb which is led.”

Today, as the Holy and Great Council nears, in all its ambivalences and limitations, let me carry with me our Lord’s call to patience, in the Spirit of the Lamb Who was led.

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