The Blessed: Persecuted and Rewarded

After proclaiming the Eight Beatitudes, Christ promised to bless His faithful disciples. He said: “Blessed are ye, 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: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Mt 5:11-12) Hear the comments of His disciples on this promise:

“Your reward is not to be placed in things that are seen, but by ‘in heaven’ understand the spiritual firmament, where everlasting righteousness dwells. Those then whose joy is in things spiritual will even here have some foretaste of that reward; but it will be made perfect in every part when this mortal shall have put on immortality.” -St. Augustine

“This it is in the power of any one of us to attain, that when our good character is injured by calumny, we rejoice in the Lord. He only who seeks after empty glory cannot attain this. Let us then rejoice and exult, that our reward may be prepared for us in heaven.” -St. Jerome

“If it be true that he who offers a cup of water does not lose his reward, consequently he who has been wronged but by a single word of calumny, shall not be without a reward. But that the reviled may have a claim to this blessing, two things are necessary, it must be false, and it must be for God’s sake; otherwise he has not the reward of this blessing; therefore He adds, ‘falsely for my sake.'” -Pseudo-Chrysostom

“For by how much any is pleased with the praise of men, by so much is he grieved with their evil speaking. But if you seek your glory in heaven, you will not fear any slanders on earth.” -Pseudo-Chrysostom

“He invites them to patience not only by the prospect of reward, but by example, when He adds, ‘for so persecuted they the Prophets who were before you.'” -Gloss

“A man in sorrow receives great comfort from the recollection of the sufferings of others, who are set before him as an example of patience.” -Remigius of Auxerre

“He signifies His equality in honour with His Father, as if He had said, As they suffered for my Father, so shall ye suffer for me.” -St. John Chrysostom

“Yet ought we sometimes to check our defamers, lest by spreading evil reports of us, they corrupt the innocent hearts of those who might hear good from us.” -St. Gregory the Great

“We ought not to stir up wilfully the tongues of slanderers, lest they perish for their slander, yet when their own malice has instigated them, we should endure it with equanimity, that our merit may be added to.” -St. Gregory the Great

Quotations from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels Collected Out of the Works of the Fathers, Vol. I, Part I (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841).

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