St. Augustine: Continuing on the Beatitudes – Suffering

“Blessed are you, says the Lord, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.”

If any be seeking under the name of a Christian the pleasures of this world and the possession of temporal goods, let him think again that our blessedness is inward, even as the mouth of the Prophet says concerning the soul of the Church – The King’s daughter is all glorious within. Ps. xliv. 15.

Without, she is reviled, and persecution and evil report are her promised portion. And yet for these very things, great is her reward in heaven, as indeed is felt in the hearts of the sufferers, at least of such as are able already to say “But we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Which is given unto us.Rom. v. 3-5.

To suffer such things is not in itself fruitful; what is fruitful, is to bear them for Christ’s Name’s sake not calmly only but gladly. There are a great many heretics who mislead souls under the name of Christians, and they suffer such things plentifully, but they are cut out from the reward, for it is not said only Blessed are they which are persecuted, but Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

Where there is not sound faith there cannot be righteousness, for the just shall live by faith. Heb. x. 38. Neither let schismatics promise themselves any of that reward, for as righteousness cannot exist where there is no faith, so neither can it exist where there is no love. And schismatics have no love, for love worketh no ill to his neighbor, Rom. xiii. 10, and if they had it, they would not tear the Body of Christ, which is the Church.

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