(Homily of our Father among the Saints Palladius regarding ascetic feat. Prol. Mar. 14)
The Lord says, In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19) and in another verse, [H]e that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22). These words of the Savior suggest that the way to heaven is the way of sorrow and must be traversed with patience. Here is the question: Will there be a reward for patience? Does it make sense to be patient? What is the goal of being patient to the end?
Our Reverend Father Palladius once taught his brothers, “Let us do our best so that we may enjoy great things forever and ever. Look at the martyrs, look at the fasters, how they endured to the end, how they courageously fought, and how they were crowned by the Lord. How can you not be surprised at their continued patience? It seemed to be beyond human strength! Others had their eyes ripped out, some had their arms and legs cut off, others were burned with fire; some were sunk in the seas, others died in rivers; some were killed like villains, others were given to be torn apart by beasts. Yet they endured all this praising God. The more the devil armed himself against them, the more they challenged him with their courage. Their hope that God would reward them for their suffering was not in vain. Their suffering was not forgotten by God and was praised in Heaven and glorified on earth. God, who is the source of miracles, granted them the power to open the eyes of the blind, to cleanse the lepers, to cast out demons, and to heal diseases. He opened the doors of heaven to them and brought them into eternal life and into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where there is eternal gladness.
So, there is a reward for patience; it makes sense to be patient for the Lord’s sake; and there is a reason to be patient and endure to the end, because those who sow with tears will reap with joy. Reap what and why? They will reap eternal life for their death; they will reap endless joy for their sorrows; they will reap unspeakable light of the eternal day of the Kingdom of Christ for the darkness of their prison; they will reap crowns for their suffering; they will reap eternal freedom for their bonds. Here is what the author of the Apocalypse says of these patient people, After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands . . . What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them . . . and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes (Rev. 7:9-17). That is the reward for patience!
Hence we shall endure all, brethren, and persevere without fail until the end; for it is not said, He who endures anything, but: He that endures to the end shall be saved. Amen.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds