December 12, 2010
Reflection on the Second Reading
Saint James gives two examples of patience: the farmer, and the prophet of the Old Testament. As examples of patience, how are these two persons similar or dissimilar? And how do these traits relate to you as a Christian during Advent?
First, consider the farmer. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. His patience has an object: the precious fruit of the earth. But for this object to come to fulfillment, the farmer must also wait for what it needs: he is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. What the object needs—the early and the late rains—is a secondary object of his patience. This patience is a hopeful patience, waiting for fulfillment.
Next, consider the prophet. Saint James here only mentions two things about him: first, that he is an example of both hardship and patience; and second, that he spoke in the name of the Lord. These two are related: we know that it was because the Jewish prophets spoke in the Name of the Lord that they faced hardships demanding patience. This patience is a forbearing patience, waiting for relief.
Finally, consider yourself as a Christian during Advent. Like the farmer, you are hopeful, waiting for the fulfillment of the archangel’s message at the Annunciation. Is there a secondary object of this patience? As the fruit of the earth needs water, what does the birth of the Messiah need? His birth demands a soul which is open to the divine Will and the divine Word. Our Blessed Mother is your model here.
Like the prophet, you are forbearing, waiting for relief from the sin that our first parents brought into the world, and that each of us has made his own. In the modern world, we dare to say that sin exists, and that it brings suffering to the world: we are prophets of sin. Yet we are also prophets of the coming of the Lord. His birth demands that we call ourselves and others to repentance: to prepare a path for the Lord. Saint John the Baptizer is your model here.
Pray a rosary today, and ask Mary that through her intercession, the Lord will help you grow in patience. This patience will make you more hopeful, and more forbearing.