Patience is a virtue that makes us over-come, without murmuring and with submission to the will of God, all the evils of this life, especially the cares inseparable from the education of youth.
Patience does not, in truth, do away with suffering, but, says Saint Francis de Sales, it alleviates it by often making us remember that "as Our Lord has saved us by suffering and enduring, so we also ought to work out our salvation by sufferings and afflictions, enduring injuries, contradictions, and discomforts with all possible meekness."
Patience is not only necessary but even useful in all our ills. It is necessary because the law of nature obliges us to bear trials patiently and because to murmur about what happens is to outrage Providence. It is useful because it lightens our sufferings, making them less dangerous and shortening them.
The Fruit of Christian Patience, says Our Lord Jesus Christ, is the peaceful possession of our souls (Luke 21:19). According to Saint Francis de Sales, "the more perfect our Patience, the more absolutely do we possess our souls."
Patience restrains the souls faculties within the due bounds that they must not transgress; thus it prevents all outbursts during trying occasions; it matures our plans and makes executing them easier; whereas precipitation, on the contrary, often makes well-thought-out projects valueless. Patience soothes our pains and calms the mind; it banishes spells of sadness; it forbids bitter words, spiteful remarks, ill-humor, discouragement, worry, unreasonable overeagerness, bustle, and haste.
The practice of this virtue consists, then, as we mentioned, in accepting without complaint all the ills that befall us. Regarding the wrongs done to us, this is what we are advised to do by the saint just quoted: "Complain as little as possible of the wrongs you suffer. It is certain that one who complains thereby commits a sin, inasmuch as self-love always feels that injuries are greater than they really are. Above all, make no complaint to irascible or censorious persons. If complaints are necessary, either to remedy the offense or restore quiet to your mind, let them be made to those who are calm of soul and who love God truly. Otherwise, instead of easing your heart, they will provoke it to greater pain, for instead of extracting the thorn that hurts you, they will sink it deeper into your foot."
All that we have just said concerning Patience in general applies very aptly to the good teacher. As he is nearly always with his students, this virtue consists, in his case, in supporting the disagreeable and unpleasant occurrences that may be met with in his employment. Consequently, he will not take to heart the students whims, jokes, and bad manners or those of their parents; he learns to feel sorry for the limited powers of reason displayed by the students due to their age, their light-headedness, and their inexperience. He never grows disheartened or weary from repeating the same things to them often and at length, but he always does so with goodness and affection so as to make them remember these things, no matter how difficult and boring he finds this to be. For the fact is that by instructing, warning, remonstrating, and correcting students, the teacher sooner or later attains the end sought: the correct and reasonable notions that he has consistently presented to them begin, as it were, to take root; pious and Christian sentiments, the principles of honesty and uprightness, insensibly sink into the heartstender and easily movedof those children who are well disposed; and in the end, the harvest he gathers will be all the more abundant because it will have been awaited for a long time. A good teacher never forgets these words of Saint James: "Let endurance have its full effect" (1:4).
The defects opposed to this virtue are to rebuff the students by offensive, crude words; to treat them roughly, using harsh language, violent and excessive acts, striking them with the hand, ferule, or signal, to punish them unjustly because of uncontrolled outbursts of self-love due to an impetuosity that does not take the time to reflect before acting or speaking.
By your endurance you will gain your
souls (Luke 21:19).
Let endurance have its full effect (James 1:4).
For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised (Hebrews 10:36).