When you read the list of the nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, some translations use the word “longsuffering” rather than “patience” (e.g. The New King James Version). If you have ever thought about patience, prayed for patience, or actually tried to be patient, then you understand why the words are sometimes used interchangably.
The main reason I am writing this blog is because I want you to read something that I read today that really hit my heart. In my PhD work, I sometimes like to return to more basic, introductory texts about ethics and Christian ethics to be reminded what it is really all about. Introductory texts often do a great job communicating why the subject is important. In addition, these texts usually do a good job relating the subject to questions that we are all asking. The book I am currently reading is Happiness and the Christian Moral Life by Paul Wadell. In my reading today, he discusses the virtue (what he refers to as a “skill”; I might add that I am not particularly fond of framing the fruits of the spirit, or virtues as a skill, though they no doubt make us more skilled at living the life to which we are called) of patience. What he had to say was simply striking. The text is below.
May we long for Christ. May we cry out for holiness from the bottom of our hearts. May we settle for nothing less. May we realize that these are not mere virtues that will make us better humans. They are, above all else, the means by which we can glorify God as well as embody Christ in a broken world (an incarnate eucharist) and thereby offer people living bread.