Posted by: liturgicalyear | April 23, 2010

Spiritual Works of Mercy: Bearing wrongs patiently

Hand in hand with forgiving offenses willingly is the spiritual work of mercy “bearing wrongs patiently”.

Of course, when we see the word “patiently” we must think, “lovingly” because “…Love is patient…”  It also “…does not brood over injury.” 

Doesn’t it always come down to love?  Our culture messes with the word love.  We love pizza, our new car, our job, our spouse.  Huh?  Do we really love pizza the same way we love our spouse?

Words matter.  We need to re-form our vocabulary.  In teaching writing to my children, we regularly used the thesaurus so that their writing would be more varied, interesting, and accurately meaningful.

Let’s do the same with the word love in our own vocabulary.  We like pizza.  We delight in our new car.  We enjoy our job.  But love is different:  we love a person, starting first and foremost with the persons of the Blessed Trinity, revealed most fully in the person of Jesus Christ.  “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (1Jn4:10)

Jesus suffered the ultimate injustice – innocent death.  His death was preceded by many instances of the need to bear wrongs patiently:  poverty, flight, misunderstanding, gossip, slander, judgment, betrayal, mockery, ridicule, abandonment.  We too suffer on that cross with Jesus.   The gospel accounts declare these actions & Jesus’ patient response – both verbal and non-verbal.  We’ve got a good role model. 

Follow the model of the Master!  The 5th chapter of the gospel of Matthew provides a road map.  Take some time to read it & meditate on it.  I’ve chosen a few key phrases for your thoughts today.

  • love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you (45)
  • your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (17)
  • whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (19)
  • if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be …reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (23-24)
  • let ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the evil one (37)
  • Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow (42)

When we are wronged, the desire to love evaporates.  We must, therefore, separate the desire to love from the act of love.  Bearing wrongs patiently requires an act of the will.  That act is fueled by grace.

Grace is the love of God working through us.  It is supernatural, meaning above the natural realm.  Bearing injustice takes supernatural love.  So first and foremost, we must seek God in prayer “Out of the depths I call to you, LORD; Lord, hear my cry! May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy,” (Ps 130:1-2) pleading for Him to place His love in our hearts.  We must then approach the font of grace, the Eucharist.

In St. Faustina’s diary, she recorded “Conversations with a Merciful God and a Soul”. It is an amazing series of conversations!  To the suffering soul He said,  “But understand that the strength by which you bear sufferings come from frequent Communions. So approach this fountain of mercy often, to draw with the vessel of trust whatever you need.”  (1487)

Jesus tells us all  that the way to bear sufferings is through the Eucharist.

So today, and during this Easter season, go to Mass and receive Communion as often as you can.  If daily Mass was your habit during Lent, extend it.  Make it your Easter celebration as you live these 50 days!

Heavenly Harmony, songs for the dayHelp me, God,  to trust in your love  and grace to help me to bear wrongs patiently.

For your further enjoyment:  In St. Faustina’s diary, there are 5 conversations Jesus has with souls.  They are beautiful meditations.  If you’ve never read them or want to see them again, check them out: Conversations of the Merciful God with Souls

btw, I ran across this video about a Eucharistic miracle in Methuen.  I had heard about it years ago, but never saw anything documenting it.  You’ll find it amazing!   (I don’t know if it has been approved by the Church or not.  We submit final decision of authenticity to the authority of the Church.)



  1. […] bear wrongs patiently; […]

  2. […] on how to bear wrongs patiently from apologist Mark Shea.   From a more practical standpoint, this article on bearing wrongs patiently from The Liturgical Year has some excellent tips for families.  And finally, this article:  Bearing Wrongs Patiently. […]

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