Bless them who persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Read Chapter 12
God makes Christians new people in every respect, so that here too he wants to take away from us the habits of anger which are common to everyone, so that instead of cursing others in anger, which we once did so easily, we might rather overcome our anger and bless them, so that the Lord’s teaching might be praised. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
How can the Scriptures, which forbid us to curse, contain so many curses themselves? Those curses are not spoken by a person who desires their fulfillment but merely foretell the fact. They do not want this to befall sinners, but because they will doubtless come to pass these curses are proved to be prophecies.
Those who persecute us are conveyors of a reward to us. If you are levelheaded, there will be another reward after that one which you will earn yourself. For your enemy will let you get a reward for persecution, but you will earn a further reward by blessing him, because by doing so you will be demonstrating a very great sign of love for Christ. Just as the man who curses his persecutor shows that he is not pleased to be suffering this for Christ’s sake, he who blesses his persecutor shows the greatness of his love.
996. Above the Apostle showed that charity should be practiced toward the needy, now he shows how it should be practiced even toward enemies: first, he gives the admonition; secondly, he proves what he said [v. 19b; n. 1013]. With respect to the first it should be noted that three things pertain to charity: first, benevolence, which consists in willing good to another and not willing evil; secondly, concord, which consists in friends willing the same thing and rejecting the same thing; thirdly, beneficence, which consists in doing good and causing no injury to the one loved. First, therefore, he touches on matters pertaining to benevolence; 492 secondly, to concord [v. 15; n. 1003]; thirdly, to beneficence [v. 17; n. 1007]. 997. In regard to the first he does two things. First, he urges that benevolence be broad enough to include enemies when he says: Bless those who persecute you. Here it should be noted that to bless [bene-dicere] is to say something good. This can happen in three wa...