20 May, Friday – Simmering in Wait

20 May – Memorial for St. Bernadine of Siena, Priest

Bernadine (1381-1444) was a Friar Minor, a priest, an itinerant preacher, and a theological writer. His preaching skills were so great, and the conversions so numerous, that he has become associated with all areas of speaking, advertising, public relations, etc.

Bernadine’s charismatic preaching filled the piazze of Italian cities. Thousands of listeners flocked to hear him and to participate in dramatic rituals, which included collective weeping, bonfires of vanities, and exorcisms. He was a renowned peacemaker, in the Franciscan tradition, who tried to calm feuding clans and factions in the turbulent political world of the Renaissance. His preaching visits would often culminate in mass reconciliations, as listeners were persuaded to exchange the bacio di pace, or kiss of peace.

Bernadine was sensitive to the demands of secular life, and tried to negotiate between Christian ethics and a conflicting code of honour that stressed retaining face in a public world. He argued that the catalyst of civil discord in the urban setting was malicious gossip, which led to insults, and, too often, vendetta by aggressive males. His surprising allies in his peacekeeping mission were the women who comprised the majority of his audience.

-Patron Saint Index

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James 5:9-12

Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord; remember it is those who had endurance that we say are the blessed ones. You have heard of the patience of Job, and understood the Lord’s purpose, realising that the Lord is kind and compassionate.

Above all, my brothers, do not swear by heaven or by the earth, or use any oaths at all. If you mean ‘yes’, you must say ‘yes’; if you mean ‘no’, say ‘no.’ Otherwise you make yourselves liable to judgement.

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Mark 10:1-12

Jesus came to the district of Judaea and the far side of the Jordan. And again crowds gathered round him, and again he taught them, as his custom was. Some Pharisees approached him and asked, ‘Is it against the law for a man to divorce his wife?’ They were testing him. He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ ‘Moses allowed us’ they said ‘to draw up a writ of dismissal and so to divorce.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘It was because you were so unteachable that he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. This is why a man must leave father and mother, and the two become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.’ Back in the house the disciples questioned him again about this, and he said to them, ‘The man who divorces his wife and marries another is guilty of adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another she is guilty of adultery too.’

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Remember it is those who had the endurance that we say are the blessed ones.

In our culture today, it’s very hard to learn the virtue of patience. We are bombarded with everything ‘instant’ – newer phone models always have an aspect of connection speed, we want our food fast, we try to avoid waiting in line for most services. It is as if waiting is such a detestable thing. But there are many things that we can only achieve by waiting. And because we allowed something to happen on its own ‘sweet time’, we get to enjoy more goodness from that something.

I learned a lot of patience from cooking. When I first started, I had to learn how simmering works. Simmering is when you heat up the food just below its boiling point. This prevents the meat from hardening or the fish from breaking. But simmering takes a long time. For some of the recipes, I would have to simmer the food for an hour. There were times that I tried to skip the simmering by boiling but as you would have guessed, the food didn’t taste as good.

There were times in my life that I had to wait on the Lord as He ‘simmers’ me. In one of my prayer times, I felt that He would want me to work for a certain company. So I immediately applied to an opening that I thought was appropriate for me. I didn’t get the job that year, but I got a job at the same company a year after that. I remember waiting in agony, doubting if I really heard the Lord make that promise to me. Looking back, the timing could not have been more perfect. The job was better suited for me and I met people who were instrumental for my growth. But my point of focus is not the fact that I got the job, but more the fact that the wait was agonizing. Just like the food that was simmering, I felt like I was being tested by fire until I reached my boiling point. But I grew in faith during that time. I learnt to trust God more. I learnt to keep on praying. I learnt to humble myself and ask people to pray for me. I learnt to submit myself to spiritual direction, having had to humble myself in case I was told that I might have heard God wrongly. I learnt to submit myself.

Waiting is never in vain. It is a time to grow. It is a time of preparation so that you can wonderfully live out where God is leading you to. “..it is those who had the endurance that we say are the blessed ones.” You wouldn’t want your child to be born in less than nine months even though you are so excited to see him or her, would you?

What is God asking you to wait on? Instead of being impatient, I would like to invite you, brothers and sisters, to ask God how he is calling you to grow.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa )

Prayer: Lord, we know that you also wait for us to be ready and I’m sure you can’t wait for us to be with you. But because you love us so much, you would even subject yourself to the pain of waiting patiently for us so we can be ready. Help us learn how to be patient like you.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for this agonizing time of waiting. Thank you for wanting us to grow to be ready for your plans for us. And thank you for giving us this suffering which we can offer you – our small sacrifices which are our gifts to you.

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