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Sep 09, 2022 385 Dina Mananquil Delfino
Engage

Hatch Not Smash

Each of us have weaknesses that we struggle with. But the Holy Spirit is our Helper!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Patience was not my strong point before I was renewed in my faith.

I am ashamed when I recall moments when I lost my temper, such as the time I blasted someone at the shop for being “racist” to my mom; the incident at work in the Philippines when I stormed into the general’s office demanding justice for the employees; the many occasions when I’ve stuck up the rude finger to someone who overtook me (maybe this is why the Lord did not allow me to continue driving!); and the many pathetic little episodes of intolerant, rude behaviour, or sullen sulkiness when I did not get my own way.

I was so impatient. If someone didn’t turn up on the dot at the time we had agreed to meet, I would leave immediately, justifying that they were not worthy of my time. When the Lord beckoned me, patience was one of the first fruits that I gained from the Holy Spirit. The Lord impressed upon me that I could not be a good servant if I did not have a compassionate, patient, and understanding heart.

Learning to Wait

Recently, my husband took me to Melbourne’s Eye and Ear Hospital for an emergency check. It brought back memories of the years when I travelled daily to the Central Business District (CBD), joining thousands of city workers who looked so unhappy but comforted themselves with the thought that they had the job of a lifetime. I even worked a lot of overtime, thinking I would get rich by doing so (I didn’t).

Working in the corporate sector, the only joy I got was running over to lunchtime Mass at St. Patrick’s or St. Francis’. If I was really bored, I would wander aimlessly down the Myer Mall, meaninglessly shopping for things that gave me temporary happiness. Every day, I asked the Lord when He would “release” me from the tiresome daily commute and the unfulfilling jobs. I would have said it was a waste of my valuable time if not for the daily Masses, the good friends I met, and the way I used the time on the train—praying, reading good books, and sewing tapestries.

As I look back, it took many years for Him to answer my prayer—to give me meaningful work within my locality, just fifteen minutes’ drive from home. I had persisted in my prayer, never giving up hope and trust that He would have mercy on me and heed my request.

When I finally said goodbye to city work, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I was finally free from that daily drudgery. Although I was grateful for the experience, I felt refreshed, looking forward to a more peaceful pace of life. With an ageing body, my mind was slowing down, and my coping mechanisms were becoming more limited.

When I returned to walk down those familiar streets again, it seemed that nothing much had changed—the street beggars were still there; some corners still smelt of urine and vomit; people paced and up down, walking, running or chasing the next train; people queued to order at the restaurants which had proliferated; and retail stores still jostled to display their wares enticingly to loosen wallets. The sound of sirens abounded. Police presence was strong, and I prayed for my daughter, wondering how she was coping with her job protecting city life.

It was all so familiar that it felt like déjà vu, but the only comfortable refuge I found was in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where I had been a lector at lunchtime Mass, and St. Francis’ where I had knelt before Mother Mary to light a candle on my first arrival in Australia. My fervent prayer for a good husband was answered in three weeks. God knows when things are urgent.

Much-Needed Virtue

The IBelieve website shares this wonderful teaching. The popular saying “patience is a virtue” comes from a poem around 1360. However, even before then the Bible often mentions patience as a valuable quality. Patience is commonly defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. In other words, patience is essentially “waiting with grace.”

Part of being Christian is the ability to accept unfortunate circumstances gracefully while having faith that we will ultimately find resolution in God. In Galatians 5:22, patience is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit. If patience is a virtue, then waiting is the best (and often most unpleasant) means by which the Holy Spirit grows patience in us. But our culture does not value patience in the same way that God does.

Why be patient? Instant gratification is much more fun! Our increasing ability instantly to satisfy our wants may be taking away the blessing of learning how to wait well. How, then, do we wait “well”? I recommend you read the entire article. Patience is waiting quietly; it is waiting eagerly. Patience is waiting until the end; it is waiting expectantly. Patience is waiting joyfully; it is waiting with grace. But the one thing we shouldn’t wait for and not postpone for another second is acknowledging Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. In the twinkle of an eye, we could be called to surrender our life.

Pursuing Patience

Since the Feast of Pentecost 20 years ago, I have been renewed in my faith. I am deeply grateful to the Holy Spirit for giving me the virtue of patience, changing me from a miserable, angry sinner into someone who has the ability to wait for His leading and help. This is the mystery of this gift. You cannot do it alone—you need Divine Grace. I did not turn into a gentle, patient person over night, and every day is a testing ground for me. Patience is said to be the “banana” of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, as it can quickly rot. I continue to be tested, but the Holy Spirit hasn’t let me down. While I was writing this article, I managed to wait on the phone for 4 hours to get an issue resolved!

The world never ceases to beckon me to hurry on. The devil is always trying to lure me into another trap by annoying me until I lose control. My egocentric self is always demanding that I should come first, so I am very much in need of the Holy Spirit to help me to maintain my patience with self-control. However, to truly exercise patience to everyone around us, Saint Francis de Sales tells us that we must first be patient with ourselves. A word of caution though. Patience is not about allowing ourselves to be a victim of abuse or enabling sinful behaviour. But that is a topic for another time, so I ask for your patience.

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” – Arnold Glasow

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Dina Mananquil Delfino

Dina Mananquil Delfino is a counsellor, community worker, pre-marriage facilitator and Pastoral Associate of St Michael’s Parish, Berwick. She lives in Pakenham, Victoria with her family.

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