In your patience you shall possess your souls. Lc 21,19 – St. Robert Bellarmine
What St. James writes of the virtue of patience is taught in other words by the Prophet David, by our Lord, and His Apostle. In the ninth Psalm, David says, “The patience of the poor shall not perish for ever,”(Ps 9,19), because it has a perfect work, and consequently its fruit will never decay. Just as we are wont to say that the labours of the husbandman are profitable when they produce a good crop, and are useless when they bring forth nothing, so patience is said never to perish because its effects and rewards will remain for ever. In the text we have just quoted, the word poor is interpreted as meaning the humble man who confesses that he is poor, and can neither do nor suffer anything without the help of God. In his treatise on patience, St. Austin shows that not only the poor, but even the rich, may possess true patience, provided they trust not in themselves but in God, from Whom, as really in want of all Divine gifts, they may ask and receive this favour. Our Lord seems to imply the same when He says in the Gospel, ” In your patience you shall possess your souls.”(Lc 21,19). For they only really possess their souls, that is, their life as their own, and of which nothing can deprive them, who endure with patience every affliction, even death itself, in order not to sin against God. And although by death they appear to lose their souls, still they do not lose them, but preserve them for ever. For the death of the just is not death, but a sleep, and may even be regarded as a sleep of short duration. But the impatient, who in order to preserve the life of the body, do not hesitate to sin by denying Christ, by worshipping idols, by yielding to their lustful desires, or by committing some other crime, appear indeed to preserve their life for a time, but in reality lose the life both of body and soul for ever. And as of the really patient it may with truth be said, “A hair of your head shall not perish,”(Lc 21,18) so of the impatient might we with equal truth exclaim: There is not a single member of your body that shall not be burnt in the fire of hell.
69 the Apostle confirms our opinion: “For patience is necessary for you, that doing the will of God you may receive the promise.”(He 10,36).
source: Biblia Clerus
St. Robert Bellarmine The 7 Words