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What man often considers as good are usually hindrances to a blessed life; and those which are looked on as evil are the sources of virtue and holiness. Riches, abundance, joy without pain are ordinarily not only of no assistance but hindrances to a holy life: "Woe to you who are rich, who are consoled, who are full."

Virtue is the only and highest good; virtue alone leads to a blessed life. And virtue and a blessed life are attainable here on earth. Yes, it is not a blessed life to be in the midst of sufferings; but it is blessedness to be victorious over it and not to fear pain.

Blindness, exile, hunger, violation of daughters, loss of children, all of these made the Patriarchs of the Old Testament blessed by their patient endurances. Jacob's daughter was violated, Joseph was imprisoned and exiled, David lost his three sons, Job lost his ten sons.

These are all painful even for the strong in mind, but we don't deny the sea is deep just because parts of it are shallow; that the sky is clear just because there are clouds, nor the earth is fertile just because there are deserts. So we must not deny there is blessedness in this life just because there are pains and grief. 

St. Ambrose: Duties of the Clergy,  Book II, Chapter 5







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