Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
People who complain a lot have the following characteristics:
1. They lose their tolerance or patience easily. They forget that they too have been weak or needy sometime in their life. They are like the Israelites; they were not content with the promise that God would give them: the promise of freedom from slavery, protection from their enemies and a land flowing with milk and honey.
A values formation manual describes tolerance as mutual respect and understanding…. an ability to face difficult situations…. being open and receptive to the beauty of differences…. To tolerate life’s inconveniences is to let go, be light, make others light and move on. In this form, tolerance is facing difficult situations by seeing them from a different perspective…. Through understanding and open-mindedness, a tolerant person attracts someone different, and by genuinely accepting and accommodating that person, demonstrates tolerance in practical form.
2. They tend to judge and analyze their elders and others. They put down other people as they see themselves degenerate and depreciate in their capacities and capabilities. They go in circles in their thoughts and actions, just like the Israelites who went in circles in the desert because of their lack of faith in God. Their vision is blurred by temporal pleasures more than the lasting joys that God promises.
3. They are displeased even with the things that they have. They do not see them as blessings. They tend to alienate others, and are easily hurt. The heart of an intolerant person is full of anger and envy as he easily becomes impatient and irritable.
What can we do?
1. Remember that tolerance/patience is a virtue, and all virtues come from God. In the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, he tells us:
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (13:4-7).
Without God we certainly lose all virtues. Awareness of the presence of God, who is love, is the key to peace of heart and peace with neighbor and with everyone.
2. Avoid judging others and their deeds, for in judging others you labor in vain, you often make mistakes, and you are easily led to sin. There is only one law-giver and judge. Who are you to judge your neighbor?
3. Be grateful for everything at all times. Do not brag or boast about anything, for there is nothing that you have or that you are that you can claim as your own. Even difficulties and sufferings can lead to good and become opportunities. Every problem leads you to grow in wisdom. If you eliminate problems, you eliminate opportunities to grow, and to grow in wisdom.
Many people do not like Jesus because they see in Him the holiness of God, and they see their own sinfulness. They satisfy themselves in going around in circles and indulge themselves with worldly pleasures.
St. Paul tells us that Jesus knew He was God, but He did not cling to being God, but became obedient to death, even death on the cross. He was obedient to His Father and to the mission He had. He was obedient to Joseph and Mary, and to the Jewish law. He was obedient to human nature.
On this Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross let us remember and reflect on the tolerance and patience of God towards us who are weak and sinners. Let us thank Him for the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross, and ask God that we also be exalted with Him in His glory. Let us live as children who grow in His love, so that we can inherit His promise of eternal life; and let us celebrate the love of God for us in the Eucharist, in our families and in our relationships.