Patience involves steadfast endurance in the face of difficulties which inevitably come in one’s life.. It implies hope in the ultimate liberation from those burdens.  It is inspired by the certain assurance of faith in the loving mercy of God.

Sometimes we speak of God’s patience.  As applied to God, patience is a figure of speech since God is incomprehensible.  With our finite minds we cannot grasp the infinity of God.  We can, however, know something about God.  We can know that God exists.  We can know something about what we call God’s attributes.  We believe that patience is one of those attributes.

It must be his patience that causes God to put up with us.  After all, God puts up with our disobedience, our sinning.  God was patient with the chosen people.    As they wandered in the desert they sometimes doubted him, even fell into idolatry.  Yet God continued to help them, to call them back and lead them to the Promised Land.
History shows a widespread failure of human beings to observe the fundamental commandments of love of God and love of neighbor.  Yet God with utmost patience  has chosen to sustain the world and its inhabitants in being.

Someone has suggested an analogy that can be helpful.  Picture yourself at a picnic table where a tiny insect is running around and getting into the food.  In your annoyance you crush it.  What if God were to feel the same way about us, about the world which to God is as insignificant as that insect is to us?

And God is patient with us as individuals.  God made us free to choose between good and evil.  He looked on patiently whenever we went astray.  Like the father of the prodigal son, God waited patiently for us to return and when we did, welcomed us rejoicing.

In God’s taking on our human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, we have the supreme example of patience.  Jesus waited patiently for thirty years before beginning his public ministry and, carrying out the will of the Father by his suffering and death.  Jesus patiently endured the physical abuse inflicted on him, culminating in his crucifixion and death.

Many everyday occasions call for patience.  Think of all the petty things that annoy us: other people’s foibles, unwanted delays, and disruptions of our plans.  Patience is challenged when we experience the passive diminishments of age.  We certainly need patience when our repeated and fervent prayers seem to go unanswered.