On Supporting Injuries as a Sign of True Patience
What are you saying, my child? Instead of complaining, consider my passion and the sufferings of the saints. “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb 12:4). What you suffer is little in comparison to those who suffered so much, who were strongly tempted, grievously afflicted, tried and tested in many ways.
Therefore, you must recall the gravity of the tribulations that others have suffered, so that you may more easily bear your own small miseries. And if they do not seem small to you, make sure that your judgment does not stem from your impatience. But whether they are small or great, try to bear them with patience.
The better you dispose yourself to suffer, the more wisely you will act, and you will have greater merit. If your mind has been prepared for it and has become accustomed to it, you will find it easier to suffer. Do not say: “I cannot tolerate these things from this person. I shouldn’t have to suffer these things, because he has done me great harm and has reproached me for things I never thought of doing. I will suffer willingly, however, at the hands of another, and in the manner that I shall deem best.” Such thoughts are foolish because they do not consider the virtue of patience, nor the One who will bestow the crown. Rather, they consider only that person and the offense that has been given.
You are not truly patient if you want to suffer only so much, and only from those you choose. A truly patient person does not mind who does the testing, whether that person excels over you, is your peer, or is subordinate: whether a good and holy person, or someone wayward and unworthy. One who is patient will be indifferent toward the source of the adversity, receiving all with gratitude from the hands of God, and with a positive outlook. Nothing, no matter how small, if suffered for God, will go unrewarded.
Therefore, be prepared to fight if you want to gain the victory, for “no one is crowned without competing according to the rules” (2 Tim 2:5). So if you do not want to suffer, you are refusing to be crowned. If, however, you desire to be crowned, fight bravely and endure with patience. Without labor one cannot rest. Without fighting one cannot be victorious.
Lord, may your grace make possible to me what seems, by nature, impossible. You know how little I can suffer and how quickly I am discouraged by a small difficulty. For your name’s sake, help me find all trials lovable and desirable, knowing that to suffer affliction for your love is very good for my soul.
Thomas à Kempis. (2010). Solace in Suffering: Wisdom from Thomas à Kempis. (M. L. Hill, Ed.) (pp. 39–41). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.