From the beginning of the world Christ has been suffering in all his people;

for he is the beginning and the end, veiled in the Law, revealed in the Gospel, the Lord ever wonderful in his saints, in whom he both suffers and triumphs.

In Abel he was killed by his brother, in Noah mocked by his son, in Abraham a sojourner, in Isaac offered in sacrifice, in Jacob a servant, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed and put to flight, in the Prophets stoned and sawn in two, in the Apostles buffeted on land and sea, and in the many varied torments of the blessed Martyrs put to death time and again.

And it is the same Lord who endures our sufferings and sorrows today. He identified himself with the human race and so has continually borne the maltreatment inflicted upon us;

for he knows how to endure suffering, which without him we cannot endure and do not know how to endure.

It is he, I say, who contin­ues to withstand the world in us and for us today, so that, overcoming it by his patient endurance, he may bring his power to perfection in weakness.

He it is who suffers the taunts you endure, and by hating you this world is hating him.

But thanks be to him, for he is vindicated when he is judged.

As you read in Scripture, the Lord triumphs in us through his appearance as a slave, acquiring for his servants the gift of freedom through that mystery of his love whereby he clothed himself in the nature of a slave and for our sakes deigned to humble himself even to the extent of dying on a cross, so that by dwelling in our nature in its visible lowliness, he might win for us invisible exaltation with the blessed.

Consider the position from which we fell in the beginning, and you will realize that it is by the design of God’s wisdom and love that we are being restored to life.

In Adam we were destroyed by pride, and therefore we are humbled in Christ so as to wash away the guilt of that ancient crime by practicing the opposite virtue.

Having offended by arrogance, we win ap­proval by service.

Let us then rejoice and make our boast in him who made his battle and victory ours when he said: Stand firm, for I have overcome the world.

Paulinus of Nola (354-431): Letter 38: 3-4, 6 (CSEL 29:326-327), from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Monday of the Twenty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.