St. Cyprian: Christ's Patience

Author: St. Cyprian of Carthage

Excerpt: Chapters 7-8

Chapter 7

But in that very hour of His passion and cross, before they had come to the cruel act of His slaughter and the shedding of His blood, what violent abuses He listened to with patience, and what shameful insults He endured! He was even covered with the spittle of His revilers, when, but a short time before, with His own spittle He had cured the eyes of the blind man. He Himself suffered the lash, in whose name His servants now scourge the devil and His angels. He who now crowns the martyrs with eternal garlands was Himself crowned with thorns; He who now gives true palms to the victors was beaten in the face with hostile palms; He who clothes all others with the garment of immortality was stripped of His earthly garment; He who has given the food of heaven was fed with gall; He who has offered us the cup of salvation was given vinegar to drink. He the innocent, He the just, nay rather, Innocence Itself and Justice Itself is counted among criminals, and Truth is concealed by false testimonies. He who is to judge is judged, and the Word of God, silent, is led to the cross. And although the stars are confounded at the crucifixion of the Lord, the elements are disturbed, the earth trembles, night blots out the day, the sun withdraws both its rays and its eyes lest it be forced to gaze upon the crime of the Jews, yet He does not speak, nor is He moved, nor does He proclaim His majesty, even during the suffering itself. He endures all things even to the end with constant perseverance so that in Christ a full and perfect patience may find its realization.

Chapter 8

And after such sufferings, He even still receives His murderers if they are converted and come to Him, and with a patience instrumental in saving man, this kind Master closes His Church to no one. Those adversaries, those blasphemers, those persistent enemies of His name, provided they do penance for their offense, provided they acknowledge the crime committed, He not only receives and pardons, but admits to the reward of the kingdom o£ heaven. What can be called more patient, what more kind? Even he who shed the blood of Christ is given life by the blood of Christ. Such is the wonderful patience of Christ.

Excerpted from St. Cyprian of Carthage, "The Advantage of Patience."