Faith on the QuadWaiting

Waiting is something that we do each and every day – whether we like it or not.  From instant oatmeal to instant messaging, we like things to be quick, easy and convenient.  For example, transportation and communication are faster today than ever before.  Years ago, traveling across the country would take days, weeks, or maybe even months.  Today, we can travel from coast to coast in a matter of hours.  Instead of hand-writing letters and waiting days, or even weeks, for a response, we simply jump on the computer and send an email or pull our cell phones out of our pockets and make a quick phone call or send a text message.  

 

But amidst a culture that clamors for instant everything, there is something to be said for the value of waiting.  It fosters the virtue of patience, which is one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, St. Paul tells us, “Love is patient” (1 Cor 13:4-7).  If we are seeking to live out Christian charity, it is important for us to develop the ability to wait patiently.  In a world in which people can barely stand to wait five or ten minutes at Starbucks, our society is quickly losing the virtue of patience and is trying its hardest to remove any opportunities we may have to practice and develop this virtue. 

 

In addition to fostering patience, waiting is important because it allows for a time of growth.  To see the importance of this concept, we look at salvation history.  God did not send his Son to die for the sins of mankind immediately after the first sin of Adam and Eve.  Rather, He slowly worked with humanity, carefully teaching and guiding his people through the prophets, making covenants with the Israelites and showing them love and forgiveness.  The Catechism tells us, “The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries” (CCC 522).  The time before Christ was not a futile period of hopeless waiting, but rather, an important preparation for what was to come.  God used the time between Adam and Christ to prepare his people for their redemption.

 

Thus, we see that waiting is not something we should view merely as an inconvenience to be avoided, but as an opportunity for growth, preparation, and development of virtue.  The season of Advent, which we are about to begin, is a time of waiting.  It is a time set aside by the Church to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.  We should use Advent as a time to ready ourselves, a time to take a step back from our busy schedules and refocus on our faith as the center of our lives.  Through prayer and the sacraments, we form our hearts to be fitting dwelling places for Christ.

 

Whether it be sitting in rush-hour traffic or waiting in extra-long check-out lines at the mall, this Advent is sure to offer us plenty of opportunities to practice the virtue of patience.  Let us resolve to make an active effort over the next few weeks to make use of these small periods of waiting to make the larger period of waiting a fruitful time of growth and preparation for Christ’s coming.

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