Bear Wrongs Patiently

14. A Moment for Mercy - Bear Wrongs Patiently

A Jesuit friend of mine, who returned to Malta after long years spent abroad, told me that one thing really impressed him on his return: how we love to complain, about everything. When the weather is hot, and when it is cold, when it rains and when it does not, the buses, the traffic, politics, religion. It seems we really enjoy complaining!

Some of us might find ourselves wondering what it means to include bearing wrongs patiently in the list of the works of mercy. I suppose it is mostly a work of mercy towards ourselves, for we realise we waste so much energy complaining against some wrong or other we receive. Some people seem to enjoy nursing their grudges, little realising that they are causing more harm to themselves than to the offender, who might not even be aware of their residual anger. 

Then we know we are most impatient with our own selves, with those shortcomings which we never seem able to get rid of completely, however hard we try. Bearing the wrongs of others and our own patiently is the result of merciful compassion, of accepting that neither we nor the others are perfect, and that beyond the visible failing the person may be trying their best to change.

Often we think that patience is a sign of weakness, of an appeasing attitude towards what is wrong. Yet, as the Italian saying goes, Patience is the virtue of the strong. Jesus invites us to turn the other cheek, to walk the extra mile. When he invites to imitate the Father, he tells us to do so in his compassion and mercy towards all.

As we enter Holy Week, we are impressed by the faces of the protagonists, which reflect not only suffering but also a deep sense of inner peace.  May they help us grow in true compassion.

By Paul Pace, SJ 

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