A Duck, a Saint, and Patience

There are many spiritual truths we can learn from cartoons.

For example, in Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island, Daffy Duck (one of my favorite cartoon characters of all time) finds a treasure map to a wishing well, which teaches him a very important lesson: "Patience is a virtue. Patience brings good luck. It is seldom found in humans, and never in a duck!"

St. Francis of Assisi explains why patience is seldom found in humans (though he remains silent on the subject of ducks):

A servant of God cannot know how much patience or humility he has within himself as long as he is content. When the time comes, however, when those who should make him content do the opposite, he has as much patience and humility at that time and no more.

We seldom find patience because we look for it in the wrong place. We think that patience is the absence of discontent. Not at all: patience can only be found when we are frustrated, disappointed, or anxious.

Patience is a spiritual practice that helps us surrender our discontent; only then will we be free to find true and perfect joy.

It is better to be patient than to fight.
It is better to control your temper than to take a city.
— Proverbs 16:32

Take a moment and center yourself. Inhale God's grace. Exhale God's love. Become aware of God's presence around you and within you.

Ask the Holy Spirit for freedom: Let me see with your eyes, Lord, not my own, for mine are untrustworthy.

Bring to mind a time when you felt your patience was tested. What were the circumstances? What frustrated you? How did your impatience manifest itself? For example, did you clench your jaw or fists or shout in anger?

As you focus on the source of your impatience, what hopes or desires were being thwarted?

Examine these hope and desires. Do they lead you toward God--that is, do they lead you toward love--or do they lead somewhere else? If they lead somewhere else, ask God for the grace to let go of these desires.

Now re-imagine this moment, but this time, imagine responding to it with love, mercy and compassion. What is different about the way you respond to frustration? Ask God for whatever grace you need to respond to future frustration, disappointment, and anxiety with love, mercy, and compassion.

Close with the following prayer or one of your own: Lord, do not teach me patience. Rather, show me how to love all things in all situations. That is enough for me. Amen.