Patience Transforming Time

St Paul by Adam Elsheimer

Archbishop William Ullathorne in his Lenten Indult of 1884 reflects on how we perceive the passage of time: “The time of this life is short; our days pass like a shadow over the earth; we never remain in the same state; as we change ourselves all things change with us, and nothing that is mortal remains long with us. . . . Examine the present moment; it will not stay to be examined, it is already past, and another has come in its place, only to leave us as quickly as it came. It has gone like a shadow that flies over the earth, and has taken a part of our mortal life away with it. . . . Thousands of souls come into this world every moment, and thousands depart from this world into eternity. They come to be tried in this changeable world . . . . Where, then, shall we find what will always stay and never pass away? In eternity, which is close upon us. Where shall we find what is immortal? In our souls. Where shall we find the good that never perishes? In God.”

In his book Christian Patience, Ullathorne shows how patience makes the passing of time fruitful: “The Italians have a proverb that time and patience change the mulberry leaf into fine satin. It is wonderful what time does for a soul when helped by patience. Patience with time matures everything. God is the governor of your soul: have patience with His mysterious ways, and let Him govern you. A hundred have perseverance for one who has patience; but without patience that perseverance is of a restless, broken, and unpeaceful kind. Devout surrender to the ways of God is the summit of patience.”

Quotations from Michael F. Glancey, Characteristics From the Writings of Archbishop Ullathorne (London: Burns & Oates, 1889).

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