Thursday 7 June 2018

Living Fruitfully Patience Learning from the Saints - Christopher Mc Camley

Living Fruitfully Patience Learning from the Saints
Christopher Mc Camley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784695606
eISBN 9781784695903

This is the second booklet in the Living Fruitfully Series, and the fourth by the Catholic Truth Society that I have read over the last 2 weeks. I was doing some research into old booklets from the Catholic Truth Society by Alice Curtayne that were written between the 1930's-60's and came across this series. It really grabbed my attention and I picked up all 5 books currently available in the series. I often pray with my children about living the fruit of the spirit; and know that I need it more in my life, especially patience. 

Christopher Mc Camley is the only author in the series today who is not a priest. Maybe his roles as husband and a father make him especially suited to writing a book on patience as a fruit if the Spirit. The description of the series is:
"What does it mean to live as a Christian? How should we live our daily lives? One way we read of in Scripture is to be filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  
The new Living Fruitfully series addresses each of these fruits in turn, beginning with Chastity, Joy, Self-Control, Generosity and Patience. The series explains how we can live out the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, drawing from the wisdom and experiences of the saints.  
The saints, far from being perfect, battled as we do to embrace these fruits daily, like St Augustine who famously prayed, "Lord make me chaste, but not yet!" and St Therese of Liseux who was a very wilful child. Seeking inspiration from them in these booklets, we can learn to live our lives in a way worthy of believers in Christ."
And the sections in this booklet are:

Growing through Struggle
The God of Patience
Parables of Patience
The Patient People of Old
Suffering and Martyrdom
Patience in Marriage and Vocation
Praying for Patience
Daily Examen

In the introduction Christopher states:
"Fruits grow from seeds, and seeds are found within fruits. We live in a world of tremendous technological advancement. We have explored the inner workings of the atom, and sent probes into the furthest reaches of the solar system and beyond. We can modify the genetic structure of a plant to improve its yield and crop resistance. Yet, we cannot produce a single seed from scratch. This is true of spiritual "seeds" as well. In our own lives it is God who plants the seed of love within us all; we cannot produce that seed ourselves. But with our choices and actions and free will we determine whether this seed will blossom into virtues, and ultimately grow into spiritual fruits."
And also:
"When a seed is planted we have to trust it will grow - we care for it, nurture, feed, water and protect it - but we cannot keep digging it up to check it. Spiritual fruits require trust in God. The fruits of the Holy Spirit all reveal an aspect of God, at least by analogy. When we speak of God by analogy it goes both ways: sometimes we apply a human term to God, to help us to understand him; other times, we apply an aspect of the divine to ourselves. When we talk of patience, is it an attribute of God we apply to ourselves?"
Christopher also reminds us that it is the fruit of the spirit, he says:
"All of the fruits of the Spirit are a single fruit, St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) tells us in his commentary on St Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Why does St Paul use the singular? Because they are all aspects of the one fruit, which is love. When we say "God is love", we are not speaking by analogy or metaphor, but something simple and true."
One of the passages that impacted me th most in this excellent booklet is:
"Although the fruits of the Spirit reflect different aspects of the one fruit that is love, they build upon and rely upon each other. Patience requires self-control, and kindness in dealing with others. Sometimes, when we conquer a sin, the virtue we develop will bear fruit in a different way. The person who is naturally patient may never see the spiritual fruit of patience grow in him. The fruit tree grows stronger in the face of a wind; it must put down deeper roots. We may continue struggling with patience, but bear fruit in generosity and kindness."
Another incredibly powerful passage is:
"The spiritual fruit of patience comes from patience practised by and for love, with faith and in hope. The bible uses two words for patience in the Greek, makrothumia and hupomone. Makrothumia is patience with people, while hupomone, is putting up with things or circumstances. Makrothumia is especially related to love, while hupomone is especially related to hope. It's also helpful to understand their opposites. The opposite of makrothumia is anger or revenge, whereas hupomone is opposed to cowardice or despondency."
The saints that are given as a sampling of examples of patience for us are:

St John of the Cross
Thomas à Kempis
St Thérèse of Lisieux
Father Willie Doyle

In the book we not only examine these four examples, we also look at a number of parables with a focus on patience and numerous bible examples of patience. After that there is an examination of two martyr's as examples of patience. And then we we look at four more saints:

St Rita
St Monica
Servant of God Léonie Martin
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Then the book concludes with a sample daily examen and a number of prayers for patience. This is a wonderful little booklet. I know few people in life who would not benefit from reading this book, or even the whole series. It is an excellent little resource in your spiritual toolbox. I recommend the book and the series wholeheartedly. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books in the Living Fruitfully Series:
Self-Control - Fr John S. Hogan
Chastity - Fr John McKeever
Joy - Mgr Paul Grogan
Generosity - Fr John S. Hogan
Patience - Christopher Mc Camley

No comments: