WHAT IS SEEMINGLY GOOD AND
Things which seem to be good,
such as riches, abundance, joy without pain, are sometimes hindrances to
holiness: "Woe to you rich. . .woe unto you that are full.
. .; woe to you who laugh." These things are not only of no assistance
but even hindrances to holiness.
Virtue, on the other hand, is
the only and highest good; it alone leads to holiness. And to attain virtues
we must suffer pain, grief and illness. These sufferings are not
blessed; but it is blessed to be victorious over these sufferings,
disregarding the temporal pains.
Many things cause grief:
blindness, exile, hunger, violation of a daughter, loss of children. But the
patriarchs were blessed in spite of these. Jacob's daughter was violated,
Joseph was imprisoned. David lost three sons and had an incestuous daughter.
But they all prevailed over it. Job lost his house, got sick and suffered
the death of ten sons. But he remained steadfast in his faith.
Sufferings are bitter and
painful; but, with a holy conscience, all these can redound to one's
St. Ambrose, Christian
Priesthood, Book II, Chapter 5