The Rite Corner: Patience


Illustrious David L. Nielsen, 33°, S.G.I.G. in Montana

Last spring the Valleys of Montana started planning on getting back to having Reunions. With the pandemic and the uncertainty resulting from it, Scottish Rite in the Southern Jurisdiction lost 18 months for having their traditionally scheduled Reunions. Most of the Montana Valleys had hoped to have Fall Reunions and were eager to do so, but the pandemic took its toll on many of these plans. Billings Valley held one in September, which I was pleased to visit, and In November I had the opportunity to be present at a Reunion held in Great Falls Valley, which had participation from the Helena Valley. Other Valleys have rescheduled the Fall Reunions to the spring. Though attending Reunions is a great way to engage socially with our brothers, it recharges our Masonic-batteries and reminds us of our Masonic duties. It is akin to attending a continuing education for our profession. I recommend it to all members.

For those who need to improve on having patience, the pandemic has provided a real teaching moment. We learned to patiently work through the early stages in the spring of 2020, and felt success during the summer, but now it seems to be hitting again as hard, if not more so, that one year ago. Oh, God, why do we need a second practice session on patience? The spiritual, logical and scientific answer is because patiently being prudent and careful is a healthy life choice-individually and for our community.

Patience is a subtle virtue that appears in our degrees numerous times. When Hiram of Trye in the 6th degree is impatient with King Solomon because the cities he received were not in good shape, there is tension between the two friends. When Constans in the 28th Degree is required to stand vigil at the altar, his patience is tested by four interruptions. Today, maintaining the patience to endure through the pandemic and outbursts of civil unrest is hard.

My attendance at two fall Reunions has helped fortify my ability to practice personal patience, but recently that fortification was strengthened by a prayer written by Saint Teresa of Avila in the early 16th century. Saint Teresa was born in Spain in 1515 and though from Jewish parents, became a Catholic nun during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. She established herself as a mystic and prolific writer of spiritual works and poems. The societal acceptance of the prayer at the time had two problems: it was written by a woman and it was written in Spanish rather than Latin. Here is the Prayers of Saint Teresa on patience:

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing away:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.