“Some people, if they stumble at all, or are slandered by anyone, or fall ill with a chronic disease, gout or headache or any such ailment, at once begin to blaspheme. They submit to the pain of the disease, but deprive themselves of the benefit. What are you doing, man, blaspheming your benefactor, savior, protector, and guardian? Or do you not see that you are falling down a cliff and casting yourself into the pit of final destruction? You do not make your suffering lighter, do you, if you blaspheme?
Indeed, you aggravate it, and make your distress more grievous. For the devil brings a multitude of misfortunes for this purpose, to lead you down into that pit. If he sees you blaspheming he will readily increase the suffering and make it greater, so that when you are pricked you may give up once again; but is he sees you enduring bravely, and giving thanks the more to God, the more the suffering grows worse, he raises the siege at once, knowing that it will be useless to besiege you any more. A dog sitting by the table, if it sees the person who is eating continually throwing it scraps of food from the table, stays persistently; but if stopping at the table once or twice it goes away without getting anything, it stays away thereafter, thinking that the siege is useless.
In the same way the devil continually gapes at us; if you throw to him, as to a dog, some blasphemous word, he will take it and attack you again; but if you persevere in thanksgiving, you have choked him with hunger, you have chased him away and thrown him back from you. But, you say, you cannot keep silent when you are pricked by distress. I certainly do not forbid you to make a sound, but give thanks instead of blasphemy, worship instead of despair. Confess to the Lord, cry out loudly in prayer, cry out loudly glorifying God. In this way your suffering will be lightened, because the devil will pull back from your thanksgiving and God’s help will be at your side. If you blaspheme, you have driven away God’s assistance, made the devil more vehement against you, and involved yourself even more in suffering; but if you give thanks, you have driven away the plots of the evil demon, and you have drown the care of God your protector to yourself.”
From “Third Sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man,”
On Wealth and Poverty, 69-70.