Reasons we should be patient with those who annoy us

February 14, 2022 • 2 min

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 174
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley

UPON BEARING WITH IMPORTUNITIES.

Blessed Francis laid great stress upon the necessity of patience when we are importuned. He would say:

Yet, patience seems almost too great a power to invoke in this matter. In reality a little gentleness, forbearance, and self-control ought to suffice.

Still, when we speak of patience it must not be as if it were to be employed only in the endurance of really great evils, for, while we are waiting for these notable occasions that occur rarely in a lifetime, we neglect the lesser ones.

We imagine that our patience is capable of putting up with great sufferings and affronts, and we give way to impatience under the sting or bite of an insect.

We fancy that we could help, wait upon, and relieve our neighbour in long or severe sickness, and yet we cannot bear that same reighbour’s ill-bred manner, and irritating moods, his awkwardness and incivility, and above all his importunity, especially if he comes just at the wrong moment to talk to us about matters which seem to us frivolous and unimportant.

We triumphantly excuse ourselves for our impatience on these occasions by alleging our deeps sense of the value of time; that one only thing, says an ancient writer, with regard to which avarice is laudable.

But we fail to see that we employ this precious time in doing many things far more vain and idle than in the satisfying the claims of our neighbour, and possibly less important than those about which he talks to us, occasioning what we call loss of time.

When we are conversing with others we should try to please them and to show that their conversation is agreeable to us, and when we are alone we should take pleasure in solitude.

Unfortunately, however, our minds are so inconsistent that we are always looking behind us, like Lot’s wife. In company we sigh for solitude, and in solitude, instead of enjoying its sweets, we hanker after the company of others.

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