Thoughts on the Patient Endurance of Sorrows and Sufferings
The Reward Attached to Patient Endurance
Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. -Matt. x, 11, 12.Blessed are they that suffer persecution.
Under the term "persecution" are comprehended all kinds of injuries, afflictions and inconveniences, in relation to fortune, honor, or life. These are caused by the devil or his ministers; sometimes, also, by mistake (God so permitting), by the just themselves. They are suffered for justice' sake when they are borne with patience and accompanied with the exercise of virtue, and in compliance with our duty toward God and men. They ought not to be suffered with patience only, but with joy at the greatness of the reward; therefore, St. Peter says, "Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a railer, or a coveter of other men's things; but, if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name" (I Pet. iv. 15).
Christ suffered all kinds of injuries and inconveniences in His honor, in His goods, and in His person, for a cause which on His part was perfectly just. He suffered in consequence of His publishing His divine law and endeavoring to bring men back again from vice and folly, into the way of their eternal salvation. Therefore, "Look and make it according to the pattern" (Ex. xxv. 40).
Our Lord was closely watched by His enemies, who laid snares for Him and tried to catch Him in His speech. He was charged with blasphemy, with having a devil, with working miracles by the help of the devil, and finally sworn to death by false witnesses. Moreover, all the pain and shame of His Passion was foreseen by Him in detail from the very beginning. "Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was not for one hour of His life without the anguish of His Passion....The whole life of Christ was a cross and a martyrdom" (Thomas a Kempis).
The reward attached to suffering for justice' sake, is no less than "the kingdom of heaven." When you suffer, be patient; "rejoice and be exceeding glad, because your reward is very great in heaven."
"Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy...and your joy no man shall take from you."
-John xvi. 20, 22.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Be thou faithful unto death and I will giye thee the crown of life.
-Apoc. ii. 10.
Meditate on the words of St. Paul: "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us."
-Rom. viii. 18.
Fruits of grace here and of glory hereafter proceed from suffering for Christ's sake and for His justice. Sufferings of this kind give the soul a relish for the cross and an ardent love for her crucified Saviour. They teach her humility, meekness, patience, conformity to the will of God, besides affording her the happy opportunity of discharging the debt of punishment due for former sins by offering up to God and bearing in a Christian manner these present afflictions.
But, the principal fruits of these sufferings are reserved to be gathered in another life - according to the Apostle (Rom. viii. 17): "If we suffer with Christ, we shall be glorified with Him."
And, again (II Cor. iv. 17), "Our present tribulation, which is momentary and light, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory." Oh, look forward, my soul into this immense eternity and contemplate the infinite rewards that are there laid up to recompense our little sufferings here; and learn to be glad and rejoice in the experience of these small temporal afflictions; because they put thee in the true way to joys that shall never end: and the greater thy sufferings are here, the greater shall be these joys hereafter.
Compiled and Edited by
Rev. F. X. Lasance
Author of "My Prayerbook," etc.
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See