Malankara World

The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales

By Jean Pierre Camus


On this subject of waiting upon God I remember hearing from Blessed Francis two wonderful explanations. You, my dear sisters, will, I am sure, be glad to have them, and will find them of great use, seeing that your life, nailed as it is with Jesus Christ to the Cross, must be one of great long-suffering.

He thus interpreted that verse of the Psalmist: With expectation have I waited on the Lord, and He was attentive to me.[1]

"To wait, waiting," he said, "is not to fret ourselves while we are waiting. For there are some who in waiting do not wait, but are troubled and impatient."

Those who have to wait soon get weary, and from weariness springs that disturbance of mind so common amongst them. Hence the inspired saying that Hope that is deferred afflicteth the soul. [2] Of all kinds of patience there is none more fitting to tedious waiting than longanimity. Strength is developed in dangers; patience drives away the sadness caused by suffering; constancy avails for the bearing of great evils; perseverance for the carrying out a good work to its completion; but longanimity has to do with sufferings which are painful because they are long enduring.

Such pains are tedious, but not often violent, for violent sufferings are, as a rule, not lasting; either they pass away, or he on whom they are inflicted, being unable to bear them, is set free by death. To wait, indeed, for deliverance from evils quietly, but without any anguish or irritation, at least in the superior part of the soul, is to wait, waiting. Happy are those who wait in this manner, for their hope shall not be confounded. Of them the Psalmist says that God will remember them, that He will grant their prayers, and that He will deliver them from the pit of misery.[3] Those who act otherwise, and who in their adversity give themselves up to impatience, only aggravate their yoke, instead of lightening it.

They are like the bird which beats its wings against the wrist or perch on which it is poised, but cannot get free from its chain.

Wise Christians making a virtue of necessity and wishing what God wishes, make that which is necessary voluntary, and turn their suffering to their eternal advantage.

[Footnote 1: Psalm xxxix, i.]
[Footnote 2: Psalm xiii. 13.]
[Footnote 3: Psalm xxxix. 3.]

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