Jane de Chantal's pain was understandable. Her beloved husband had been shot to death by a close companion in a tragic hunting accident, leaving her a single mother at the mercy of a tyrranical father-in-law. Her best friend was now gone; her whole world had been turned upside down; she sank into depression. In her heartbreak, she was unable to forgive the man who shot her husband, whom she would encounter in town.
But then the Bishop of Geneva, Francis de Sales, came into her life as a spiritual director. By appreciating the depth of her pain, he knew that forgiveness would take time. In fact, it would take six years. Throughout, Francis was patient with Jane, becasue Francis knew the patience of God.
We sometimes speak of people who have "the patience of a saint." Francis de Sales had that type of patience. But then again, he is in fact a saint. And helped by that patience, so is Jane de Chantal.
We're called to be saints too. That requires patience. And don't we all need more of that? We need more patience with others; we need more patience with ourselves; we need more patience with God too.
Thankfully, patience is a virtue. Which means that, at the end of the day, patience is a gift from God. And if patience comes from God, then we can certainly ask him for it. Indeed, we should. St. Francis de Sales knew that well. "You need patience..." he once wrote to a friend. But then he added: "...and God will give it to you."