I recently came across a quote from St. Claude La Colonbiere, taken from notes for a retreat he gave in 1678. God, as you probably already know has a funny way of doing things. Not funny, “ha-ha,” but funny as in “you did that on purpose, didn’t you?”
Here’s the quote:
“My Jesus, let me live in your Heart and pour all my bitterness into it where it will be utterly consumed. Sheltered in your Heart I shall not fear impatience. There I will practice silence, resignation to you will, and constancy. I will thank you daily for my crosses and ask your pardon for those who offend me. I will try to acquire patience. I know it is not the work of a day, but it is enough for me to be sure that it can be attained by effort.
O my sweet Jesus, pray for me as you prayed for your enemies; do not refuse me this for I long to love you and even to love my cross and my enemies for love of you. Amen.”
~~ St. Claude La Colombiere
What first caught my eye was the word, “bitterness” in the first line. Bitterness can take many forms and I think most of us struggle with it in one form or another, at least on occasion. It can be difficult to remain joyful when faced with misfortune, can’t it?
The next line really grabbed me, “Sheltered in your Heart I shall not fear impatience.” I never in the world thought to link the two words together – fear and impatience. The idea that I might fear impatience never dawned on me, and I’ve been ruminating about that since I read the quote. I’m definitely not a pleasant person to be around when I’m impatient, but do I fear being that way? Or, is it what causes the impatience that I’m really afraid of? Do you fear impatience?
St. Claude La Colombiere is convinced that, if he is sheltered in Jesus’ heart, he will not fear impatience, and I daresay that if we imitate him, it would be with the same effect. Yet, that’s not always so easy to do. I think that, in our willfulness, we tend to step outside of our Lord’s Sacred Heart and try to do things completely on our own volition. Well, at least I do. And when I do that, it usually ends in failure.
It takes determined patience to hold ourselves back and let Jesus take the lead. That’s true of projects, relationships, formation, uncertainties, and dilemmas of all kinds. When we try to stake out on our own, we fail, and when we fail, we become frustrated, and when we become frustrated, we become bitter, and when we’re bitter, we put distance between ourselves and God. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken when we allow ourselves to be sheltered in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The quote from St. Claude and this whole concept of patience came up right at a moment in my life when I’m struggling to be patient on just about every front. Yeah, God is funny. That’s why he made sure that I came across it. He’s also moved my heart to mediate on the saint’s words, slowly and deliberately throughout the day as the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 8. Sheltered in our Lord’s Sacred Heart, I’ll no longer fear impatience.
Enthroning the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a long-time Catholic custom. If you haven’t yet done this, you may want to consider doing so as enthroning the Sacred Heart brings many graces to home and family. I found a beautiful prayer that can be used for this. The link is below.