There is a Japanese proverb which says: PATIENCE opens every door. Anyone who has ever contended with a frozen lock or a swollen door would have to admit that heat or pressure applied with PATIENCE (rather than its opposite!) does yield the desired result. Not only does PATIENCE minimize damage to stubborn doors and stiffened locks, it also helps to keep one's self-possession blessedly intact!

Indeed, the PATIENCE which opens every material door is even more effective in the realm of the spirit. We need only look at the PATIENCE of God in the step by step unfolding of His plan of salvation. He did not rush redemption. Rather He prepared — carefully, persistently, PATIENTLY — for the fullness of time when He would send His Only Begotten Son to save the world and to reopen to humanity the gates of the Kingdom of heaven.

While every step of Jesus' earthly life is marked by an exquisitely perfect PATIENCE, it is in His blessed Passion that this virtue shines with divine splendor. St. Augustine describes the Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a lesson in PATIENCE. St. Thomas Aquinas declares that to see the virtue of PATIENCE in action, we must look at Jesus on the Cross. St. Aelred prescribes grateful remembrance of the wonderful PATIENCE of Christ as the unfailing key which opens the door to loving and pardoning our enemies.

The PATIENCE of our Lord opens not only the door of redemption for all humanity, but also the door of grace for each member of the human family. Christ never forces Himself into a life (He respects our freedom too much for that), but gently, persistently, PATIENTLY, He knocks upon the door of the human heart, waiting for a response.

The conversion of Francis of Assisi is a beautiful manifestation of our Lord's PATIENCE. Step by step, grace by grace, Jesus invited the merchant's son to a whole-hearted living of the Gospel. Francis, which is it better to serve, the master or the servant? Francis. go repair My house which you see is falling into ruin. Jesus waited until Francis was ready — and we know what happened after that!

PATIENCE has opened and continues to open so many doors in our lives, too. We need only look back to be amazed at how long and often God waited for us, how gently yet persistently He nudged us forward, how PATIENTLY He prepared both the joys and the sufferings in our lives that would conform us more fully to His Son. The simple Scriptural dictum: Now He waits is proved true again and again as the Lord waits for our contrition, our conversion, our response to His grace, our going through the doors of spiritual growth that His PATIENCE daily opens to us.

What an incentive this is to cultivate PATIENCE!   PATIENCE opens the door to perseverance and to peace. In person-to-person relationships, the opening power of PATIENCE can swing wide the doors of mutual trust, forgiveness and understanding. Open to me the gates of holiness we pray with the Psalmist. One can hear God reply: "Take up the key of PATIENCE, and it will be opened to you."



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The Good Order

Part 16
The Opening Power