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Matthew 5:12

Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
It may be asked, what difference there is between ‘they shall revile you,’ and ‘shall speak all manner of evil of you;’ to revile, it may be said, being but to speak evil of. But a reproach thrown with insult in the face of one present is adifferent thing from a slander cast on the character of the absent. To persecute includes both open violence and secret snares. Serm. in Mont., i, 5: Do not suppose that by heaven here is meant the upper regions of the sky of this visible world, for your reward is not to be placed in things that are seen, but by “in heaven” understand the spiritual firmament, where everlasting righteousness dwells. Those then whose joy is in things spiritual will even here have some foretaste of that reward; but it will be made perfect in every part when this mortal shall have put on immortality. “Persecuted” He says generally, comprehending both reproaches and defamation of character. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
I do not think that it is the higher parts of this visible world that are here called heaven. For our reward, which ought to be immoveable and eternal, is not to be placed in things fleeting and temporal. But I think the expression in heaven means in the spiritual firmament, where dwells everlasting righteousness: in comparison with which a wicked soul is called earth, to which it is said when it sins, Earth you are, and unto earth you shall return. Of this heaven the apostle says, For our conversation is in heaven. Hence they who rejoice in spiritual good are conscious of that reward now; but then it will be perfected in every part, when this mortal also shall have put on immortality. For, says He, so persecuted they the prophets also which were before you. In the present case He has used persecution in a general sense, as applying alike to abusive words and to the tearing in pieces of one's reputation; and has well encouraged them by an example, because they who speak true things are...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
Not only should we patiently endure all the horrible treacheries of the persecutors that can be contrived in a time of persecution for Christ’s name against the just, or the various reproaches that can be heaped upon us, or the punishments that can be applied to the body, but we should even welcome them with exultation because of the coming glory. For he says, “Rejoice in that day and exult; I tell you this, because your reward is great in heaven.” How glorious is the endurance of this persecution, the reward for which the Lord says is in heaven! And so, taking into account the reward of the proposed glory, we should be ready with devout faith for every endurance of suffering, so that we may be ready to be made partners in the prophets’ glory. . ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Reward, in Latin merces, in Greek mist hos, signifies wages done for hire, and due for work, and presupposes merit. (Bristow) If you participate in the sufferings of the prophets, you will equally participate in their glory, their reward. (Haydock)
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Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Ap. Anselm: Rejoice, that is, in mind, exult with the body, for your reward isnot great only but “abundant in heaven.”. non occ.: He invites them to patience not only by the prospect of reward, but by example, when He adds, “for so persecuted they the Prophets who were before you.”
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Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
Hom. in Ezech. i. 9, 17: What hurt can you receive when men detract from you, though you have no defence but only your own conscience? But as we ought not to stir up wilfully the tongues of slanderers, lest they perish for their slander, yet when their own malice has instigated them, we should endure it with equanimity, that our merit may be added to. "Rejoice,” He says, “and exult, for your reward is abundant in heaven.”. Hom. in Ezech., i, 9, 17: Yet ought we sometimes to check our defamers, lest by spreading evil reports of us, they corrupt the innocent hearts of those who might hear good from us. ...

Jerome

AD 420
This it is in the power of any one of us to attain, that when our good character is injured by calumny, we rejoice in the Lord. He only who seeks after empty glory cannot attain this. Let us then rejoice and exult, that our reward may be prepared for us in heaven.
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Then see the prize again: Because your reward is great in heaven. But you, though you hear not of a kingdom given in each one of the blessings, be not discouraged. For although He give different names to the rewards, yet He brings all into His kingdom. Thus, both when He says, they that mourn shall be comforted; and, they that show mercy shall obtain mercy; and, the pure in heart shall see God; and, the peacemakers shall be called the children of God; nothing else but the Kingdom does He shadow out by all these sayings. For such as enjoy these, shall surely attain unto that. Think not therefore that this reward is for the poor in spirit only, but for those also who hunger after righteousness, for the meek, and for all the rest without exception. Since on this account He has set His blessing on them all, that you might not look for anything sensible: for that man cannot be blessed, who is crowned with such things as come to an end with this present life, and hurry by quicker than a s...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
But if it be true that he who offers a cup of water does not lose his reward, consequently he who has been wronged but by a single word of calumny, shall notbe without a reward. But that the reviled may have a claim to this blessing, two things are necessary, it must be false, and it must be for God’s sake; otherwise he has not the reward of this blessing; therefore He adds, “falsely for my sake.”. For by how much any is pleased with the praise of men, by so much is he grieved with their evil speaking. But if you seek your glory in heaven, you will not fear any slanders on earth. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Look then at the reward again: “for your reward is great in heaven.” And don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear the kingdom of heaven granted with every single Beatitude. For even if Jesus names the rewards differently, he still puts all of them in the kingdom of heaven. For in fact he says, “Those who mourn will be comforted, and those who show mercy will receive mercy, and those pure in heart will see God, and the peacemakers will be called sons of God.” In all these things the blessed One does nothing but hint at the kingdom of heaven. For people who enjoy these things will certainly reach the kingdom of heaven. So do not suppose that the reward of the kingdom of heaven belongs only to the poor in spirit. It also belongs to those who hunger for justice, and to the meek and to all these blessed others without exception. For he set his blessing upon all these things to keep you from expecting something belonging to this material world. For if one wore a prize or garland for things tha...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
The preceding blessings were general; He now begins to address His discourse to the m that were present, foretelling them the persecutions which they should suffer for His name.
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Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
For a man in sorrow receives great comfort from the recollection of the sufferings of others, who are set before him as an example of patience; as if He had said, Remember that ye are His Apostles, of whom also they were Prophets.
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Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Of the others whom He has said are blessed, He does not speak of a great reward. But here He does, to show that to patiently endure reviling is a great and most difficult thing; so difficult that there have been many who have even hanged themselves to escape this trial. Even Job, who patiently endured his other trials, was troubled when his friends reviled him by saying that he was suffering for his sins. So that the apostles would not think that they would be persecuted for teaching something contrary to God, He exhorts them by saying, "Even the prophets before you were persecuted for the sake of virtue, and so you have the example of their sufferings to give you courage." ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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