23 October, Friday — A Call To Be Patient

Oct 23 – Memorial for St. John Capistrano, Priest

St. John (1386–1456) was the son of a former German knight. His father died when John was still young. He studied law at the University of Perugia, and became a lawyer in Naples, Italy. He was the reforming governor of Perugia under King Landislas of Naples. When war broke out between Perugia and Malatesta in 1416, John tried to broker a peace but instead, his opponents ignored the truce, and John became a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment, he came to the decision to change vocations. He had married just before the war, but his marriage was never consummated and, with his bride’s permission, it was annulled. He became a Franciscan at Perugia on 4 October 1416 and was a fellow student with St. James of the Marshes, and a disciple of St. Bernadine of Siena. He was a noted preacher while still a deacon, beginning his work in 1420.

He was an itinerant priest throughout Italy, Germany, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Russia, preaching to tens of thousands. He established communities of Franciscan renewal, and was reported to heal by making the Sign of the Cross over a sick person. He wrote extensively, mainly against the heresies of the day.

After the fall of Constantinople, he preached Crusade against the Muslim Turks. At the age of 70, he was commissioned by Pope Callistus II to lead it, and marched off at the head of 70,000 Christian soldiers. He won the great battle of Belgrade in the summer of 1456. He died in the field a few months later, but his army delivered Europe from the Muslims.

– Patron Saint Index

Ep 4:1-6
Lk 12:54-59

lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. 

Jesus is asking us to lead a holy life and, by holy, he means to be humble, gentle, patient and loving with one another. Hard as I try to live a holy life, I often find myself losing patience – my biggest weakness. All my life I’ve been impatient – even with walking. You’ll often find me walking ahead of all my family members. I know that’s a terrible habit and I tried to pace myself with the rest of my family, but often find it difficult. In the morning going to work, getting to an appointment, everywhere I go, I’m always in a rush to reach my destination because every task feels like a race to be finished. I like to be punctual, or even earlier, just so that I have extra pockets of time. Most times, I struggle with trying to slow down.

Parents with teenage children will understand when I say my patience is often tried and tested. It is often worn thin. What do you do when your child repeatedly does not do the things you’ve been telling her to, when she ignores your commands and pleas, and continues to use the mobile phone even when you remind her it’s way past bedtime? So when patience is worn thin, I will start to raise my voice. After that I will regret it much, because I know I sound and look like a horrible monster, and that moment of error seems to have erased all the times when I was patient, gentle and loving. Pride can also easily get in the way when you’re angry. I need to put my point across. How can anyone still see the face of Jesus in a person who shouts or is frustrated and angry? Jesus never lost his cool – not even when he was falsely accused and mocked at – not even when he was nailed and hung from a cross. One thing I learnt from him is that whenever he is overwhelmed, he would retreat to a quiet place, away from the crowds to pray and talk to his Father in heaven.                 

When I bring Jesus into the scene, it’s much easier to control my weaknesses. Basically, Jesus is my conscience. It’s only when there’s gentleness, humility, patience, faithfulness, self-control, and goodness, then can peace and joy follow – all the fruits of the Holy Spirit which will bring about “the unity of the Spirit”. Until then, I will continue to strive to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which [I] have been called.”   

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)

Prayer: Dear God, grant us the virtue of patience, to do all things in kindness and gentleness so that others may see your face in us.    

Thanksgiving: Thank you merciful Lord, for being so patient and understanding, for showing gentleness like a parent does to a child, not shouting at us even when we disobey and misbehave.

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