An extract from 2 Corinthians 11:23-30,12:8-10:
"I AM TALKING like a madman -- I am a better one: with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death. Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches....
"If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.... Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong."
MSGR L. gave an excellent sermon this morning, explaining the overarching meaning behind the three scriptural readings today (Genesis 12:1-4a, 2 Timothy 1:8b-10, Matthew 17:1-9) and quoting 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 (see above) -- how in the pursuit of righteousness, in order to enjoy the glory that God has promised us, we must be prepared to discipline ourselves, let go of material or other possessions, and even suffer like Christ (and Abraham, St Paul, St Peter, St James...).
Reminded me of a famous saying of Mencius (also known as 孟子 or Meng Zi in Mandarin):
天之降大任於斯人也， (Heaven, when it is about to place a great responsibility on a man,)
必先苦其心志，勞其筋骨，(always first tests his resolution, wears out his sinews and bones with toil,)
餓其體膚，空乏其身，(exposes his body to starvation, subjects him to extreme poverty,)
行拂亂其所為 , 所以動心忍性，(frustrates his efforts so as to stimulate his mind, toughen his nature)
增益其所不能。(and make good his deficiencies.)
(Translation adapted from an earlier version by Charles Muller.)