Thought for the Day – 6 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Blessedness of Those Who Suffer Persecution
“It would seem impossible, that suffering and persecution, could bring us happiness.
Yet, we have our Lord’s assurance for it.
“Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’s sake,” He says, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men reproach you and persecute you and, speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for MY sake. Rejoice and exult for your reward is great in heaven” (Mt 5:9-12).
Not only is this true of persecution borne in defence of the Faith and of the Church but, it is equally true of any kind of trouble and suffering as long as it is endured for the love of God.
“Rejoice,” writes St Peter, “insofar as you are partakers of the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice with exultation in the revelation of his glory” (1 Peter 4:13).
“It is good for us now and then,” The Imitation of Christ assures us, “to have some troubles and adversities, for oftentimes, they make a man enter into himself, that he may know that he is an exile and place not his hopes in anything of the world.
It is good for us sometimes, to suffer contradictions and to allow people to think ill and slightingly of us, even when we do and mean well.
These are often helps to humility and rid us of vainglory.
For then we more earnestly seek God to be witness of what passes within us, when outwardly, we are slighted by men and incur their discredit” (Bk 1 c 12).
This is a repetition of the teaching of Jesus Christ, Who said: “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
The happiness which our Lord promises us, is that which results from our own self-renewal and from the acceptance of our cross.
This happiness, is not easy to acquire because, our selfish and sensual impulses, as well as the insults of others, seem to be forever stirring up a nest of vipers inside us.
Too often, our hearts are overflowing, not with happiness but, with rebelion.
How can we remedy this?
There is only one way.
We must love God so much, that we are prepared to endure everything willingly, for love of Him.
Those who suffer are blessed, therefore, only on one condition, namely, on condition that they suffer for love of God.”