EXHAUST this world and its resources: this done, if spiritual life survives the soul will learn patience.
Sit aloof and look down on the world; viewed from aloof and aloft the world's hollowness becomes apparent: this realized, the living soul strikes root in patience.
The Book of Ecclesiastes discloses to us the mind of one who learned patience by the first method.
The Epistle of St. James manifests the spirit of one who learned it by the second method.
In a certain sense, the result is the same from either process: patience cannot but be patience. Nevertheless, the patience of a worn-out penitent is far different from that of a lifelong saint.
"Vanity of vanities; all is vanity," reiterates the Preacher.
"Behold, we count them happy which endure," writes the Apostle.
For most of us it is too late to aim at that patience which crowns lifelong holiness. For none of us (thank God!) is it too late to acquire that patience which dignifies penitence. Whatsoever we be, the precept is for us: "Let patience have her perfect work." Amen.