On the other hand, we should never get tired of Saint Paul. He, like the good Jesuits of the 16th century (Xavier first of all, but so many others), suffered immensely, out of love for Christ and His Church and her true, everlasting, and unwavering Doctrine.
Is there a more beautiful epistle than this Sunday's in the Church year? Hardly any: the Autobiography of Saint Paul is a testament of love. If you heard it and read it thoughtlessly in Mass today, read it again. Thank you, Doctor Gentium!
|Saint Paul's shipwreck in Malta|
"You gladly put up with fools, because you are wise yourselves! For you suffer it if a man enslaves you, if a man devours you, if a man takes from you, if a man is arrogant, if a man slaps your face! I speak to my own shame, as though we had been weak. But wherein any man is bold - I am speaking foolishly - I also am bold. Are they Hebrews? So am I! Are they Israelites? So am I! Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I! Are they ministers of Christ? I - to speak as a fool - am more: in many more labors, in prisons more frequently, in lashes above measure, often exposed to death. From the Jews five times I received forty lashes less one. Thrice I was scourged, once I was stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I was adrift on the sea; in journeyings often, in perils from floods, in perils from robbers, in perils from my own nation, in perils from the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils from false brethren; in labor and hardships, in many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those outer things, there is my daily pressing anxiety, the care of all the churches! Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I am not inflamed? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that concern my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, Who is blessed forevermore, knows that I do not lie. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me, but I was lowered in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped his hands. If I must boast - it is not indeed expedient to do so - but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows that he was caught up into paradise and heard secret words that man may not repeat. Of such a man I will boast; but of myself I will glory in nothing save in my infirmities. For if I do wish to boast, I shall not be foolish; for I shall be speaking the truth. But I forbear, lest any man should reckon me beyond what he sees in me or hears from me. And lest the greatness of the revelations should puff me up, there was given me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me. Concerning this I thrice besought the Lord that it might leave me. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for strength is made perfect in weakness. Gladly therefore I will glory in my infirmities, that the strength of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Cor. 11:19-33; 12:1-9)