"We can boast of your constancy and your faith in persecution and trial." —2 Thessalonians 1:4
Our persecutions and trials are not completely the fault of our persecutors. Some are "an expression of God's just judgment" on us for the sins we have not repented of (2 Thes 1:5). Therefore, our persecutions and trials should lead us to repentance.
After we have repented, we can suffer persecution. In this way, we build up God's kingdom in an exceptionally powerful way (2 Thes 1:5). No praying, preaching, healing, teaching, or serving can have the impact that repentance or redemptive suffering has in furthering God's kingdom. We were saved not by Jesus' ministry but by His suffering. Therefore, it is a "special privilege to take Christ's part — not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him" (Phil 1:29). "Rejoice instead, in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings" (1 Pt 4:13). "See to it that none of you suffers for being a murderer, a thief, a malefactor, or a destroyer of another's rights. If anyone suffers for being a Christian, however, he ought not to be ashamed. He should rather glorify God in virtue of that name" (1 Pt 4:15-16).
Prayer: "We pray for you always that our God may make you worthy of His call, and fulfill by His power every honest intention and work of faith" (2 Thes 1:11).
Promise: "For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is He." —Ps 96:4
Praise: St. Augustine, a gifted intellectual, ridiculed his mother for her "primitive" faith in God. Then he met Jesus, and converted to the faith. He and his mother now share the lot of the saints in heaven.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000