John Chrysostom: “He Endured the Cross and Thought Nothing of the Shame of It for the Sake of the Joy that Lay Ahead of Him” Wednesday, Mar 30 2011 

We must persevere patiently in the course we have begun, without growing faint or discouraged:

Let us run the race that lies ahead of us, the Apostle urges.

[…] We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who leads us in our faith and brings if to perfection.

Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus means that we must observe the example Christ gave us if we are to learn to run our race.

[…] In the race of life, if we want to run well and learn to keep a straight course, we must fix our eyes on Jesus who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.

What does this imply? Surely it means that Christ has given us our faith, and we owe its very first movement within us to his inspiration.

[…] If Christ has given our faith its first impetus, he himself will direct it to its goal:

He endured the Cross and thought nothing of the shame of it for the sake of the joy that lay ahead of him.

He had committed no sin and there was no deceit on his tongue; this means he could have avoided suffering if he had so wished.

The Gospel records Jesus’ own statement that the prince of this world was on his way, but he had no power over him.

And so, in fact, it was open to Christ to refuse the Cross if he chose:

I have the power to lay down my life, he says, and I have the power to take it up again.

He was under no necessity of being crucified; he was crucified for our sake.

Surely then it is only reasonable that we should bravely endure all the trials that we ourselves encounter.

And so Scripture tells us that for the sake of the joy that lay ahead of him Christ endured the Cross thinking nothing of the shame of it.

What exactly is meant by thinking nothing of the shame?

The simple fact, as Saint Paul says, that Christ chose an ignominious death, that he chose it in full freedom because he was not subject to sin.

By so doing Christ has taught us to face disgrace boldly and make light of it.

Let me remind you of the goal he achieved: he has taken his seat at the right hand of God.

You see the prize to be won in this conflict.

Therefore, whenever we ourselves have to suffer some disgrace, let us think of Christ, remembering that his whole life was filled with insults.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Commentary on Hebrews 28.2;  from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Year I.


Francis de Sales: Perseverance Springs from God’s Mercy, His Most Precious Gift Saturday, Mar 26 2011 

Perseverance is the most desirable gift we can hope for in this life, and the one which…we cannot have but from the hand of God, who alone can assure him that stands, and help him up that falls.

Therefore we must incessantly demand it, making use of the means which Our Saviour has taught us to the obtaining of it: prayer, fasting, alms-deeds, frequenting the sacraments, intercourse with the good, the hearing and reading of holy words.

Now since the gift of prayer and devotion is liberally granted to all those who sincerely will to consent to divine inspirations, it is consequently in our power to persevere.

Not of course that I mean to say that our perseverance has its origin from our power, for on the contrary I know it springs from God’s mercy, whose most precious gift it is.

I mean that though it does not come from our power, yet it comes within our power, by means of our will, which we cannot deny to be in our power.

For though God’s grace is necessary for us, to will to persevere, yet is this will in our power, because heavenly grace is never wanting to our will, and our will is not wanting to our power.

And indeed according to the great S. Bernard’s opinion, we may all truly say with the Apostle that:

Neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39).

Yes, indeed, for no creature can take us away by force from this holy love; we only can forsake and abandon it by our own will, except for which there is nothing to be feared in this matter.

So…we ought to place our whole hope in God, who will perfect the work of our salvation which he has begun in us, if we be not wanting to his grace.

For we are not to think that he who said to the paralytic: Go, and do not will to sin again gave him not also power to avoid that willing which he forbade him.

And surely he would never exhort the faithful to persevere, if he were not ready to furnish them with the power.

[…] We must often then with the great King demand of God the heavenly gift of perseverance, and hope that he will grant it us:

Cast me not off in the time of old age; when my strength shall fail, do not thou forsake me (Ps. 70:9).

Francis de Sales (1567-1622): Treatise on the Love of God, 3,4.

Catherine of Siena: Contemplation of the Blood of Christ Friday, Oct 23 2009 

God says to Catherine: Know, dearest daughter, how, by humble, continual, and faithful prayer, the soul acquires, with time and perseverance, every virtue.

Wherefore should she persevere and never abandon prayer, either through the illusion of the devil or her own fragility, that is to say, either on account of any thought or movement coming from her own body, or of the words of any creature.

The devil often places himself upon the tongues of creatures, causing them to chatter nonsensically, with the purpose of preventing the prayer of the soul. All of this she should pass by, by means of the virtue of perseverance.

Oh, how sweet and pleasant to that soul and to Me is holy prayer, made in the house of knowledge of self and of Me, opening the eye of the intellect to the light of faith, and the affections to the abundance of My charity, which was made visible to you, through My visible only-begotten Son, who showed it to you with His blood!

Which Blood inebriates the soul and clothes her with the fire of divine charity, giving her the food of the Sacrament,…that is to say, the food of the Body and Blood of My Son, wholly God and wholly man, administered to you by the hand of My vicar, who holds the key of the Blood.

…This food strengthens little or much, according to the desire of the recipient, whether he receives sacramentally or virtually.

He receives sacramentally when he actually communicates with the Blessed Sacrament.

He receives virtually when he communicates, both by desire of communion, and by contemplation of the Blood of Christ crucified, communicating, as it were, sacramentally, with the affection of love, which is to be tasted in the Blood which, as the soul sees, was shed through love.

On seeing this the soul becomes inebriated, and blazes with holy desire and satisfies herself, becoming full of love for Me and for her neighbor. Where can this be acquired?

In the house of self-knowledge with holy prayer, where imperfections are lost, even as Peter and the disciples, while they remained in watching and prayer, lost their imperfection and acquired perfection.

By what means is this acquired? By perseverance seasoned with the most holy faith.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380): The Dialogue