Patiently put up with harassing people – Sixth Spiritual Work of Mercy
The Works of Mercy through the eyes of a biblical scholar
We are just at the sixth spiritual Work of Mercy, which we will analyse thanks to the contribution of biblical scholar Carlo Miglietta. These in-depth studies are contextual to the meeting taking place in Lucca, aimed at producing useful tools for the dissemination of the works throughout the world, particularly where Spazio Spadoni is present with the HIC SUM projects.
The sixth Work of Spiritual Mercy is “patiently put up with harassing people”
The biblical scholar points out to us that he who performs this work is similar to:
- God: “Am I not the one who uses patience and turns a blind eye?” (Is 57:11); “Is the patience of the Lord weary?” (Mi 2:7); “Do you mock…his patience, without recognising that God’s goodness moves you to conversion? “(Rom 2:4); “The Lord is patient with you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should have opportunity to repent” (2 Pet 3:9); “God…has borne with great patience vessels of wrath” (Rom 9:22; cf. 3:25-26).
- Jesus: “May the Lord direct your hearts in the love of God and in the patience of Christ” (2 Thess 3:5).
- The Prophets: ‘Take, O brothers, as a model of endurance and patience the prophets who speak in the name of the Lord’ (Jas 5:10).
- Job: “We call blessed those who have endured with patience. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know the final fate that the Lord reserved for him” (Jas 5:11).
The biblical scholar also reminds us that he who patiently endures harassing people hears the Word of God
Below some excerpts:
- “The wrathful commits foolishness, the thoughtful endures” (Pr 14:17).
- “Woe to you who have lost patience; what will you do when the Lord comes to visit you?” (Sir 2:14).
- “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace and patience” (Gal 5:22).
- “The testing of your faith produces patience” (Jas 1:3-4).
- “We also boast in tribulation, knowing full well that tribulation produces patience, patience a proven virtue” (Rom 5:3).
- “We who are strong have a duty to bear the infirmity of the weak” (Rom 15:1).
- “I urge you to conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the vocation you have received, with all humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another in love” (Eph 4:1-2).
- “Clothe yourselves therefore…with feelings of mercy…, with meekness, with patience” (Col 3:12).
- “But you, man of God…, tend to…charity, patience, meekness” (1 Tim 6:11).
- “You, on the other hand, have followed me closely in teaching…, in magnanimity, in love of neighbour, in patience” (2 Tim 3:10).
- “Let the old be sober, dignified, sensible, steadfast in faith, in love, and in patience” (Titus 2:2).
- “Charity covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:7).
The biblical scholar leaves us at the conclusion of this work with a provocation, a question: do we know how to be “fishers of men” (Mk 1:7), identifying those who know how to exercise patience and proclaiming to them the beatitude of mercy that reads “Blessed are the merciful” (Mt 5:7)?
Patience is the virtue of the strong
This work is the only one to include an adverb, ‘patiently’, to indicate duration and continuity, ‘for a long time’.
Patience and gentleness have always been important teachings of Jesus “To him who would call you to judgment to take off your tunic, you leave your cloak also. And if one will force thee to go a mile, thou shalt go two miles with him. Give to those who ask you, and to those who desire a loan from you, do not turn your back” (Mt 5:40-42). Supporting a troublesome person, with his faults, is difficult, it upsets us because it is as if he shatters one of our projects, preventing us from doing what we want, what we plan and what we think is right. Luigina Tomiola reminds us that bearing is not a passive action but an active response, a welcoming and respectful gesture that presumes to remain in balance, controlling impulses to help those who have lost this balance.