Ringwood Resident Reflects on Patience

Philip O’Shea, OFM Friar News


RINGWOOD, N.J. — Basically, patience may be defined as the capacity to tolerate otherness. For us in the Judeo-Christian tradition, original sin is our inability to accept God’s way from being different from our own. In other words, God was other than we. As we grow older, our attitude toward otherness must mature if we are to live a full life. This is God’s world. He has given this world to us to enjoy and to make use of properly. If we accept this, if we say Thy Will be Done,” that enables us to develop a tolerance for things as they really are. The exercise of that tolerance is one of the meanings of patience.

Here at Holy Name Friary, our aging and our physical disabilities give us a greater awareness of our limitations and of the increasing otherness of what we would like to do and what we can do. This awareness can be approached positively or negatively.

From the positive point of view, we accept our limitations and utilize our capability to the greatest degree that we can. From the negative point of view, we refuse to accept things as they are because they are not as we would like them to be. It is here that patience reveals itself as a dimension of wisdom. This realization makes it easier for us to see ourselves as the House of Prayer, which the Province has declared us to be.


As residents of the House of Prayer, we find that being patient — tolerant of the greater difference between where we are and where we would like to be — changes our image of ourselves from the way we thought we were to the way we really are. We begin to see that God being the other is a good thing for us and for the world in general. We realize that thereafter is a distinction between the way things are and the way we want them to be. We begin to allow God’s way to become more and more satisfying. We discover that the virtue of patience allows us to be positively content with being who we are today.

That patience also allows us to think differently about ourselves and the way we relate to others. Patience allows us to work effectively with others even in area where there is some disagreement.

Coming to Holy Name Friary helps us to realize how great is the possibility we possess to work with others here. Humility — the virtue which allows us to cooperate with others — is not a down-grading of our dignity or ability but rather a joyful acceptance of our limitations as sources of understanding and acceptance of the reality that things can be other than we want them to be, without destroying our capacity to see possibilities in areas we never thought we would.

— Fr. Philip, a native of Massachusetts, has lived at Holy Name Friary, the Province’s skilled nursing facility, since summer 2015. The friary, which opened in 1989, has been recognized for its quality care.

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