An Augustinian Meditation on Patience

still-water-lac-du-salagouThe patience of man, which is right and laudable and worthy of the name of virtue, is understood to be that by which we tolerate evil things with an even mind, that we may not with a mind uneven desert good things, through which we may arrive at better. Wherefore the impatient, while they will not suffer ills, effect not a deliverance from ills, but only the suffering of heavier ills. Whereas the patient who choose rather by not committing to bear, than by not bearing to commit, evil, both make lighter what through patience they suffer, and also escape worse ills in which through impatience they would be sunk. But those good things which are great and eternal they lose not, while to the evils which be temporal and brief they yield not: because the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared, as the Apostle says, with the future glory that shall be revealed in us. And again he says, This our temporal and light tribulation does in inconceivable manner work for us an eternal weight of glory”
St Augustine

Christians have much to learn from this idea of patience. While we are surrounded by evil, we must learn to tolerate it, to be among it, without allowing our minds to become uneven, or influenced by it. A life of prayer will anchor us in the solid ground of Christ and give us wisdom in navigating the turbulent waters of a post-Christian world. The more we turn to God in stillness and give him our heart, soul, mind, and strength, the more we will be enabled to bear such a world with the utmost patience. Prayer itself is an act of patience, for prayer is grounded in a hope that cannot yet be seen. So let us tolerate what goes on around us, while not being caught up in the undercurrent. Let us be a light and witness for the God of truth and of love that the world is unaware she longs for. For, as Dame Julian reminds us, in the end all shall be well. With patience, let us be unmoved by our surroundings, for we look forward to that day when heaven descends, wipes away every tear, every jot and tittle of evil, and the sting of death is taken away, once and for all. Since we “have this hope as an anchor for the soul” (Heb. 6.19), may we be a people of patience, of waiting, and of stillness before our Lord.



About nashotahhouse

Located in Nashotah, Wisconsin, Nashotah House Theological Seminary is the oldest institute of higher education in the state of Wisconsin. Founded in 1842 by a Missionary Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Nashotah House belongs to the Anglican tradition of worship, theology and spirituality. That is, Nashotah House traces her roots to the Church of England and locates herself within the worldwide Anglican Communion. Comprehending the fundamental disciplines of Holy Scripture, Theology, Church History, Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry, the curriculum at Nashotah House not only roots our students in the ancient wisdom of the Church, it prepares and empowers them to communicate the Gospel to the world today.