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Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (Memorial)
Behold, now she follows the Lamb who was crucified for us,
powerful in virginity, modesty her offering,
a sacrifice on the altar of chastity.
Blessed is the virgin
who by denying herself and taking up her cross
imitated the Lord, the spouse of virgins
and prince of martyrs.
Daily Meditation: 1 Samuel 24:3-21
Great is the generosity you showed me today. (1 Samuel 24:19)
David is a wonderful example of the virtue of forbearance. Just look at the way he responds to Saul’s jealousy and desire to kill him. Saul relentlessly pursues David, even though he has never been disloyal or questioned Saul’s right to rule. When Saul unwittingly stumbles into the cave where David and his men are hiding, no one would have faulted David for taking vengeance on Saul for all he had done to him. Instead, he lets Saul escape unharmed.
The generosity of David’s forbearance has an immediate effect on King Saul: he admits to treating David badly, calls off the pursuit, and gets David to promise mercy to his descendants.
David’s actions mirror the forbearance of God, who is patient and slow to anger, like the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Instead of punishing us swiftly, God gives us room to experience the consequences of our choices and feel remorse for our sins. He scans the road, eagerly awaiting our return. Perhaps he muses about the ways we will grow from these difficult experiences.
David shows us that it is better to restrain our anger than to act on it. Exercising forbearance opens up space for God to work in us, and in the other person, to bring to birth something new.
For example, maybe you become angry one day as you think about the fact that your adult children haven’t called you lately. Rather than letting that anger build and continue to darken your thoughts, ask the Holy Spirit to give you his peace. Then at some later point, you can bring up the issue with them and ask if they’re doing okay. Maybe they are coping with a lot of stress at work or are struggling with a health issue. By forbearing, you may just end up having an important conversation that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Next time you are wronged, take a deep breath. Call on God’s mercy for you and for the one who has hurt you. Remember, forbearance is a virtue that opens up the opportunity for you and the people around you to grow.
“Father, give me a heart full of forbearance toward those who wrong me.”
Psalm 57:2-4, 6, 11