Fourth Sunday after Easter: on the good of patience

May 19, 2019
Source: District du Canada
Mass of the 4th Sunday after Easter in Saint-Césaire

From the exposition of St. Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr, "on the good of patience".

From the second nocturn of matins, 4th Sunday after Easter

In speaking of patience, beloved brethren, and in preaching on its benefits and advantages, how can I better begin than by pointing out the fact that now, just for you to listen to me, I see that patience is necessary, as you could not even do this, namely, listen and learn, without patience.

For only then is the word of God and way of salvation effectively learned, if one listens with patience to what is being said. Dearly beloved brethren, there are divers paths of heavenly wisdom, wherein we are invited to walk, if we would reach in the end the reward which God hath prepared to crown hope and faith but I find no path more useful toward life, nor more sure toward glory than this, that while we humbly strive, in all fear, and in all godliness, to obey the commandments of the Lord, we should set our chiefest guard in an unceasing watch over our patience.

The philosophers also say that they take this path, but their patience is as much a sham as their wisdom is a cheat, for who can be wise or patient who knoweth nothing of God's wisdom or God's patience are the lives of servers and worshippers of God. Let it be ours, then, to show forth by spiritual watchfulness that patience which is a part of the teaching which we have learnt from heaven. Patience is one of His Own virtues whereof God hath made us partakers with Him our Great Head is the Captain of the patient, and it is through patience that He hath crowned Himself with glory and honour.

But as for us, dearly beloved brethren, we are the real philosophers, whose wisdom lieth not in words but in deeds, and is manifested not in dresses but in the truth. We are they whose knowledge hath the inward consciousness, not the idle boasting, of strength. We are not speakers of high-sounding words, but our lives. Yea, God is Himself the Source, the Fountain, and the Greatness of patience, and it behoveth man to love what is beloved of God.

That good thing which he loveth is commended unto him of God's Majesty. If God be our Lord and Father, let us follow after the example of our Lord and Father's patience, since it is the duty of servants to be obedient, and of sons to be home-minded.

By our patience God draweth us toward Himself, and keepeth us His Own. Patience doth soothe anger, bridle the tongue, govern the mind, keep peace, set rules of self-control, break the onset of lust, still the swelling of temper, put out the fire begotten of hatred, make the rich meek, and relieve the need of the poor patience doth guard in virgins their blessed wholeness in widows, their careful purity in such as be married, their single-hearted love one toward the other.

Patience doth teach such as be successful to be lowly-minded such as be unfortunate, to be brave and all to be gentle when they are wronged and insulted.

Patience maketh a man soon to forgive them that trespass against him, and if he have trespassed against any, long and humbly to ask his pardon. Patience doth fight down temptations, bear persecution, and endure unto the end in suffering, and in uplifting of our testimony. Patience is the moat that guardeth the stout foundations of the castle of our faith.