Invincible Patience

The Most High is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. (Luke 6:35)

Now, we have to ask the Lord exactly how He means this statement. We know that, when all is said and done, the ungrateful and the wicked will suffer eternal punishment. Although such punishment certainly qualifies as just, it would be a stretcher for us to propose that condemning the wicked to hell counts as ‘kind.’

So, we must ask: How exactly is the Most High kind to the ungrateful and the wicked?

This question touches us personally, because, to be honest, we must count ourselves among the ungrateful and the wicked. Have I shown God the gratitude that He deserves to get from me? Hardly. Have I escaped wickedness altogether? Have to take the Fifth on that one.

So we have a vested interest in grasping how the Most High is kind to the ungrateful and wicked people, like us. In the end, God will judge with justice. But, in the meantime, what does He do?

At Holy Mass today, we commemorate St. John Chrysostom. He lived his long and hard life with, as the Collect puts it, “invincible patience.” His eloquent preaching gained him a wide following. And it led to his bitter exile from the realm. He bore it all patiently.

How did he manage to do that? Bear it all with invincible patience? The good Lord gave John Chrysostom some of His own divine patience.

The Most High is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. As Christ also said, the heavenly Father makes the sun shine and the rain fall on the just and the unjust alike. All the plants grow together until harvest time, weeds as well as wheat. As St. Peter put it, the Lord’s patience is directed to our salvation.

To every living human being, the Most High kindly gives the greatest of all possible gifts. He gives us right here, right now. Right here, right now: the perfect venue for us to express our gratitude to Him and love Him like good little children.

As long as we have a right here right now, we can be grateful and good. He gives and gives and gives us moments in which to repent of all our many evils. He keeps us all alive a great deal longer than we deserve. If the door shuts in our faces when everything is said and done, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Even the damned in hell have to admit that the mercy of the Lord endures forever. Let’s not waste a precious second that the Lord patiently gives us. Every last one of them makes for a perfect opportunity for us to love Him.

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