Friday, December 2, 2011

The Work of Patience and Humility


Often, when we are overtaken with boredom regarding our spiritual practices, we will also find we are easily overtaken with despair when confronted with events that do not go as we desire. This is an indication of our spiritual immaturity. We need both patience and humility because they are important works in our spiritual life.

Saint Seraphim says,
A lofty and sound soul does not despair over misfortunes, of whatever sort they may be. Our life is as it were a house of temptations and trials; but we will not renounce the Lord for as long as He allows the tester to remain with us and for as long as we must wait to be revived through patience and secure passionlessness!
All the trials of this life are opportunities for our spiritual growth. Even the most difficult situation provides a chance to demonstrate our love and gratitude for all God's works. This is how we learn to practice patience.
Saint Seraphim tells us,
One should always endure any trial for the sake of God with gratitude. Our life is a single minute in comparison with eternity.
Saint Paul says,
The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:18).
Saint James says,
"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4 NKJV)
Humility goes with patience. It is about our willingness to accept whatever comes our way, instead of holding on to the notion that the life of this world should operate by our own ideas or standards. When we are demeaned by others challenging our personal honor we should make an effort to forgive them. We should consider that we are unworthy of this honor we think we possess. It is our work to learn to humble ourselves always.
Saint Seraphim says,
Let us love humility and we shall see the glory of God; for where humility issues forth, there the glory off God abounds.

Reference: Little Russian Philokalia, Vol 1, pp 34 - 37

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