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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Patience
How We Wait Upon the World
David Baily Harned
Cowley 1997 Paperback $12.95
ISBN: 1-56101-147-9


This book salutes the virtue of patience which has been celebrated for thousands of years. The author, professor emeritus of philosophy and religious studies at Louisiana State University, delineates the Old and New Testament images of the patience of God. He agrees with Tertullian's proposition that "every sin can be traced back to impatience."

Patience, according to Harned, is the calm and uncomplaining endurance of misfortune, the expectant waiting for the realization of God's Kingdom, the handmaiden of justice, the sister of humility and gratitude, the basis for civil order, and the first work of love. The author discusses this virtue in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot and in Archibald MacLeish's J.B. Patience is the glue that makes attentiveness important and it is the force field in life that connects us to the universe and to all living things. Those who cherish this virtue will also appreciate "the slowness of the good" as Soren Kierkegaard once put it.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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