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The Spiritual Power of Forbearance


A sure way to happiness and to holiness is the frequent practice of the virtue of forbearance.


But as the opportunities for practicing ... in a big way come rather seldom, we must take advantage of the small ones which occur daily, and which will soon put us in a position to face the greater trials with equanimity when the time comes.

There is no one who does not experience a hundred small annoyances every day, caused either by our own carelessness or inattention, or by the inconsideration or spite of other people, or by pure accident.  Our whole lives are made up of incidents of this kind, occurring ceaselessly from one minute to another, and producing a host of involuntary feelings of dislike and aversion, envy, fear and impatience to trouble the serenity of our minds.

We let an incautious word slip out and wish we had not said it;  someone says something we find offensive;  we have to wait a long time to be served when we are in a hurry;  we are irritated by a child's boisterousness;  a boring acquaintance buttonholes us in the street;  a wagon splashes us with mud;  the weather spoils our outing;  our work is not going as well as we would wish;  a tool breaks at a critical moment;  we get our clothes torn or stained — these are not occasions for practicing heroic virtue but they can be a means of acquiring it if we wish.

If we were careful to offer all these petty annoyances to God and accept them as being ordered by his providence, we would soon be in a position to support the greatest misfortunes that can happen to us, besides at the same time insensibly drawing close to intimate union with God.




colombiere Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. "The Spiritual Power of Forbearance." excerpt from The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombiere (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998).

Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Ignatius Press. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.

The Author

colombiere1colombiere Saint Claude de la Colombiere. S.J. (1641-1682) promoted the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was the confessor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Claude de la Colombiere was born of French noble parents in 1641. In 1674, after 15 years of Jesuit life, Colombiere took a personal vow to observe the Rule and Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. He is the author of Claude La Colombiere Sermons: Volume I: Christian Conduct, The Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, The Faithful Servant: Spiritual Retreats And Letters Of Blessed Claude La Colombiere, and Spiritual Direction of St Claude de La Columbiere

Copyright © 1998 Ignatius Press
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