Saint Paul offered God thanks for it all

Conversion of Saint Paul[Saint Paul of Tarsus], more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is, and in what our nobility consists, and of what virtue this particular animal is capable. Each day he aimed ever higher; each day he rose up with greater ardor and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him. He summed up his attitude in the words: I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead (Philippians 4:13). When he saw death imminent, he bade others share his joy: Rejoice and be glad with me! (cf Philippians 2:18). And when danger, injustice and abuse threatened, he said: I am content with weakness, mistreatment and persecution (cf 2 Corinthians 12:10). These he called the weapons of righteousness, thus telling us that he derived immense profit from them.

Thus, amid the traps set for him by his enemies, with exultant heart he turned their every attack into a victory for himself; constantly beaten, abused and cursed, he boasted of it as though he were celebrating a triumphal procession and taking trophies home, and offered thanks to God for it all: Thanks be to God who is always victorious in us! (cf 1 Corinthians 15:57). This is why he was far more eager for the shameful abuse that his zeal in preaching brought upon him than we are for the most pleasing honors, more eager for death than we are for life, for poverty than we are for wealth; he yearned for toil far more than others yearn for rest after toil. The one thing he feared, indeed dreaded, was to offend God; nothing else could sway him. Therefore, the only thing he really wanted was always to please God.

From Homily 2 de laudibus sancti Pauli: PG 50, 477-480 by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop; second reading from today’s Office of Readings, Liturgy of the Hours.

The rest of the passage is here: Catholic Exchange for January 25 (Conversion of Saint Paul).

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