1. May you bear with me in some little foolishness! But surely you will.

2. I confess that I share the jealousy of God for you, for I have promised you in marriage to Christ, the only spouse, to present you to him as a pure virgin.

3. And this is my fear: the serpent that seduced Eve with cunning could also corrupt your minds and divert you from the christian sincerity.

4. Someone now comes and preaches another Jesus different from the one we preach, or you are offered a different spirit from the one you have received, with a different Gospel from the one you have accepted - and you agree!

5. I do not see how I am inferior to those super-apostles.

6. Does my speaking leave much to be desired? Perhaps, but not my knowledge, as I have abundantly shown to you in every way.

7. Perhaps my sin was that I humbled myself in order to uplift you, or that I gave you the Gospel free of charge.

8. I called upon the services of other churches and served you with the support I received from them.

9. When I was with you, although I was in need, I did not become a burden to anyone. The friends from Macedonia gave me what I needed. I have taken care not to be a burden to you in anything and I will continue to do so.

10. By the truth of Christ within me, I will let no one in the land of Achaia stop this boasting of mine.

11. Why? Because I do not love you? God knows that I do!

12. Yet I do and I will continue to do so to silence any people anxious to appear as equal to me: this is my glory.

13. In reality, they are false apostles, deceivers disguised as apostles of Christ.

14. It is not surprising: if Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,

15. his servants can easily disguise themselves as ministers of salvation, until they receive what their deeds deserve.

16. I say again: Do not take me for a fool, but if you do take me as such, bear with me that I may sing my own praises a little.

17. I will not speak in the language of Christ, but in that of a fool, bringing my own merits to prominence.

18. As some people boast of human advantages, I will do the same.

19. Fortunately you bear rather well with fools, you who are so wise!

20. You tolerate being enslaved, and exploited, robbed, treated with contempt and slapped in the face.

21. What a shame that I acted so weakly with you! But if others are so bold, I shall also dare, although I may speak like a fool.

22. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.

23. Are they ministers of Christ? (I begin to talk like a madman) I am better than they. Better than they with my numerous labors. Better than they with the time spent in prison. The beatings I received are beyond comparison. How many times have I found myself in danger of death!

24. Five times the Jews sentenced me to thirty-nine lashes.

25. Three times I was beaten with a rod, once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked, and once I spent a night and a day adrift on the high seas.

26. I have been continually in hazards of traveling because of rivers, because of bandits, because of my fellow Jews, or because of the pagans; in danger in the city, in the open country, at sea; in danger from false brothers.

27. I have worked and often labored without sleep, I have been hungry and thirsty and starving, cold and without shelter.

28. Besides these and other things, there was my daily concern for all the churches.

29. Whoever wavers, do I not waver with him? Whoever stumbles, am I not on hot bricks?

30. If it is necessary to boast, let me proclaim the occasions on which I was found weak.

31. The God and Father of Jesus the Lord - may he be blessed for ever! - knows that I speak the truth.

32. At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas placed the city under guard in order to arrest me,

33. and I had to be let down in a basket through a window in the wall. In that way I slipped through his hands.

Livros sugeridos

Por que a tentação passada deixa na alma uma certa perturbação? perguntou um penitente a Padre Pio. Ele respondeu: “Você já presenciou um tremor de terra? Quando tudo estremece a sua volta, você também é sacudido; no entanto, não necessariamente fica enterrado nos destroços!” São Padre Pio de Pietrelcina


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