Pope Francis sits in the back of the Chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae before celebrating Mass with the Vatican gardeners and janitors March 22, 2013. Credit: L'Osservatore Romano.
“The Lord takes his time. But even he, in this relationship with us, has a lot of patience,” preached the Bishop of Rome at the chapel of the Vatican's Saint Martha House. “Not only do we have to have patience: He has. He waits for us.”
“And he waits for us until the end of life. Think of the good thief – right at the end, at the very end, he acknowledged God.”
Pope Francis gave Abraham as an example of God's sometimes lengthy timetable: when he was 99, and his wife 90, God promised him a son.
On the other hand, God immediately acts in the life of the leper who in the day's Gospel asked for healing.
“When the Lord intervenes, he does not always do so in the same way,” explained the Roman Pontiff.
“There is no 'set protocol' of action of God in our life; it does not exist.”
God acted one way with Abraham, and “in a different way” with the leper, but he always acts in our lives.
There is “always this meeting between us and the Lord,” yet he “always chooses his way to enter into our lives.”
“He always enters, he is involved with us, but he does so in his own way and when he thinks it's best.”
We are often “in danger of losing our patience a little,” because of this, as we pray, “But Lord, when?”
On the other hand, “when we think of what the Lord has promised us, that it is such a huge thing, we don’t believe it; we are a little sceptical” as Abraham was when promised a son by his 90 year old wife.
“How often, when the Lord does not intervene, does not perform a miracle – does not do what we want him to do – do we become impatient or sceptical,” Pope Francis reflected.
In the face of temptations to disbelief and impatience, we must remember that “the Lord walks with us, but often does not reveal himself, as in the case of the disciples of Emmaus.”
“The Lord is involved in our lives … but often we do not see. This demands our patience. But the Lord who walks with us, he also has a lot of patience with us.”
The “mystery of God's patience,” said the Bishop of Rome, is that “in walking, (he) walks at our pace.”
We are called to imitate his patience, because when life is at its darkest, when we “are in trouble,” “we want … to come down from the cross.”
“And when we come down from the cross,, we always do so just five minutes before our release comes, at the very moment when our impatience is greatest.”
Christ too “heard them challenging him” while he was on cross to “come down,” but chose not to.
“Patience until the end,” Pope Francis urged, “because he has patience with us.”
“He tells us exactly what he told Abraham: Walk in my presence and be blameless.'”
The Roman Pontiff concluded, saying, “This is the journey with the Lord and he intervenes, but we have to wait for the moment” he chooses.
“We ask this grace from the Lord, to always walk in his presence, trying to be blameless.”