"Be patient not only with regard to the big, chief part of the afflictions that may come to you but also as to things accompanying them and accidental circumstances. Many people would be ready to accept evils provided they were not inconvenienced by them. 'I wouldn't be bothered by poverty,' one man says,'if it didn't keep me from helping my friends, educating my children and living respectfully as I would like.' 'It wouldn't bother me,' another says,'If people didn't think it was my own fault.' Another would be willing to suffer patiently false reports about him, provided no one believed his detractor. Others are willing to endure part of the evil, so they think, but not the whole of it. "
(St. Francis deSales, Introduction the Devout Life, Part III, No.3)
It is a consequence of The Fall that man seeks to run from responsibility for his actions. When God asked Adam and Eve if they had eaten of the forbidden fruit they immediately placed blamed on another for their sin. Man is loathe to accept ownership of his faults and constantly accuses others or circumstances themselves for his various failings. Due to this inclination, he finds difficulty in correcting them or, at least, having the desire to do so because he will not admit it is in his power to change his behavior.
Often, one may find himself saying, "I would be more patient with my children if only they were not so little and so close in age"; "I would forgive my spouse if only he had not done something so hurtful,"; or, "I would be more joyful if only I didn't have to work with exasperating people all day." Well, of course it would be easy to practice virtue if others cooperated so amicably! But then, that would not require too much effort. To be a saint demands hard work, indeed.
Virtue does not wait for a convenient time to be practiced. Like an athlete who gains the upper hand on an opponent by additional training, even when he is tired or sore, so, too, a person can only really increase the strength of his character by practicing virtue when the circumstances are the most trying.
When men and women are first placed on the road to canonization they are given the title,"Venerable" after their lives have been thoroughly examined to reveal they have displayed "heroic virtue." To be a saint is to be a hero in the supernatural life.
What distinguishes the Christian spouse from others? It is that he not only fulfills the demands of his vocation but does so with a servant's heart. He learns to be patient even when he is stressed and tired; he is joyful even when he feels like being irritable; merciful when he feels like holding a grudge; helpful when he feels like being lazy. He knows a marriage and family cannot survive on self-serving excuses, only on selfless actions. And he also knows that God has given him the necessary graces to perform these heroic deeds. It will do to always remember these words written by Father Thomas Dubay in his Prayer Primer:
"The best thing husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, can do for each other and for their children is to become saints, men and women of burning prayer." (emphasis mine)