The First Pope’s Instruction on Suffering

Repaying Evil with a Blessing

As the universal shepherd is admonishing believers on the Christian way of life, he summarizes the virtues that are expected of believers and particularly calls us not to repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse. The willingness of Christians to forgive others is the hallmark of our faith in every age. The chief apostle beckons us to repay evil “with a blessing.” In this way, we allow grace to work and we in turn “inherit a blessing.” Holding on to bitterness and hate enslaves us, while forgiveness frees us. Peter’s guidance to “repay with a blessing” is in a sense a reflection of Jesus’ teaching to love our enemies.

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing.

—1 Peter 3:8–9


Do I respond to evil with evil? Am I willing to die to myself and respond to evil with a blessing?


Lord Jesus, You are abundant in Your mercy and compassion. Have mercy on us. Grant us Your spirit of forgiveness. Strengthen us to respond to evil with a blessing. Give us a compassion­ate and understanding heart. Help us to forgive as You forgive us. For You are Lord forever and ever. Amen.

Suffering Evil for the Sake of Goodness

Saint Peter is reminding believers of the real possibility of suffering and persecution for the sake of the Gospel. He teaches that it is good to suffer for what is right. This wisdom is played out as many believers, and many popes, throughout Church history will suffer and be martyred for the sake of righteousness. Saint Peter tells us boldly: “Do not fear what they fear.” As Christians, we do not fear suffering or death. We know the Lord is risen and our inheritance is in eternity. As such, when persecution comes, we can remain steadfast and sanctify in our hearts Christ as Lord.

Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord.

—1 Peter 3:13–15a


Do I see my life from the perspective of eternity? Do I fear what unbelievers fear, or has hope dispelled such fear in my life?


Lord Jesus, You are the Resurrection and the Life. We hope in You! We accept whatever persecution might come for our faithfulness to You. We do not fear what the unbeliever fears. We place our confidence in You. Grant us Your grace. Help us to persevere. Show us Your glory. For You are Lord forever and ever. Amen.

This article is taken from a chapter of A Year with the Popes by Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, which is available from TAN Books.



Related Posts

Discover the authority, strength, and wisdom of the Heavenly Host with A Year With the Angels. Join Mike Aquilina in meditation and prayer to explore the virtue, grace, and truth embodied by these celestial beings who stand before the throne of God.

The Wisdom Of Angels

A Year With the Angels invites you to discover the authority, strength, and wisdom of the Heavenly Host, who embody virtue, grace, and truth because they stand before the very throne of God. In this excerpt, join Mike Aquilina in meditation and prayer on the wisdom of the angels. 

Read More »
In the pursuit of holiness, expect opposition from the world. Saint Francis de Sales advises us to remain unwavering in our resolutions, standing strong against threats, insults, and assaults. Discover the courage to face adversity and stay true to your devout path.

In The World, But Not Of It

When we pursue the devout life, Saint Francis de Sales warns that the world will cast threats, insults, and assaults upon us of every kind. Here, de Sales reminds us that when the world mocks us in our pursuit of holiness, we must stand firmly rooted in our resolutions.

Read More »
Uncover the profound conversations between Saint Margaret Mary and Our Lord in this autobiography. Delve into her experiences, challenges, and ultimate decision to dedicate her life to the religious path.

Chosen As The Spouse Of Our Lord

In this autobiography from one of the greatest mystics in the Catholic Church, Saint Margaret Mary discloses the intimate conversations she had with Our Lord. Taken from her autobiography, the saint reveals the Lord’s words in choosing her as His spouse, the temptations she faced before entering religious life, and her resolution to enter the religious life.

Read More »

Evangelizing By Example

Written for priests, seminarians, and men discerning the priesthood, The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood strengthens souls and unites them to Christ and to their sublime vocation. In this excerpt, Venerable Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche implores priests to lead and teach above all by example. Her instruction is priceless not only to priests, but to all of us who seek to act as our Lord’s instrument in this life. 

Read More »