While in the United States, Sr. Clare prepared this short text about the virtue of patience and its contrary vice to help the monitors to explain the topic to their team of girls at the HM Summer Camp. She gives some concrete examples of how to fight for this virtue of patience, in the context of a summer camp.
The virtue of patience is actually the ability to suffer. The three degrees of patience are: to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and even to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy.
When we don’t try to practice patience, we get angry. Here are a few examples.
How can I practice patience at the HM summer camp?
You are one hungry camper and you’re in the dining room waiting for breakfast. Sister calls each group to go up and get breakfast. You’re really hungry… She calls another group. You make exaggerated gestures in front of Sister so that she gets the hint that you’re really hungry. She calls another group. You bang your fist on the table: “We’re always last! I think I’m gonna faint!” etc. The day has just begun, and you’re already in a bad mood because you were unable to be patient.
You had to use the rest room which means you arrive late to do arts and crafts. Everyone is coloring in their craft. You want to use the red marker but there are no red markers left. Other people are already using them. You look angrily at a girl at your table because she’s not as quick at using the marker as you want her to be. You don’t control your anger and say, “Can you just hurry up and stop being a perfectionist!!!” Remember: Patience is a virtue.
It’s shower time. As there are a lot of girls and time is short, you have to shower as fast as possible. Your monitor says that each of you have approximately 5 minutes in the shower. The girl before you has been in there for 5 and half minutes already, so you start to bang the door down telling her to come out.
To grow in virtue, you must practice it. If you don’t take the opportunities God gives you to practice patience, then this virtue will not grow. What will sadly happen is that the vice of anger will grow and that means you’re losing the battle. And that’s not what you want, right?