Patience and Mercy

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I spend a lot of time explaining the virtues of patience to my seven-year-old, but today’s reading from James might as well have been a mirror.  

Often when I’m stressed, my reaction is to burrow down, try to do things on my own and, if I’m honest, I tend to be more irritated with little things and less likely to extend grace to others.  

In a quick glance at the first reading, you might see a lecture, but it is actually a pep talk. James reminds us that others have come from further behind to overcome; we are part of a team and can get through this together, and we have a coach who fully believes in us.  

We must be careful not to miss God’s blessings because we are caught up in questioning the “why” of our circumstances. Not only do we have the example of the prophets referenced here but, as we are reminded, we look forward to the coming of the Lord. This should provide us both focus and relief, because when we inevitably falter, we can be comforted in the Lord’s mercy.  

The very beginning of today’s passage is a reminder that we will be judged by how we handle our worst situations and, in particular, how we treat others in our moments of difficulty. Christianity is not a solo journey; we are all connected. Today, let’s pray for patience in the face of adversity, and compassion for those facing hardship.  

© Liturgical Press.

Adrienne Alexander

Adrienne Alexander, president of The Catholic Labor Network, is a union lobbyist who often writes fact sheets and tweets (@DriXander). A wife and mother, she and her family attend St. Benedict the African Parish in Chicago.

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