Fr. Robert Bengry: Humiliation?


Jesus Christ suffered humiliation after humiliation in His life, and at the last, His death was to be His deepest and most lasting humiliation. But it wasn’t. The crown of thorns is a real and kingly crown more precious than the finest gold and the largest diamonds. The purple robe is a kingly robe finer than all the silk and ermine of the earthly kings. The cross is the most noble throne.
    Jesus suffered perfectly which is to say that He suffered more deeply than any human being. His life, as St. Vincent de Paul says in the quote above, was a perpetual humiliation. If you, who follow Christ, who take up your cross as He instructs, do not experience humiliation, suffering and hardship, you’re not really following Christ where he leads. But know this: your suffering is not pointless... it is somehow redemptive just as Christ’s own humiliation and suffering (even His violent death) was redemptive.
    Some humiliations in life are petty, others are significant and life-changing. Some come at the hand of ugly people who enjoy sowing discord and harm. Others come from your own sin and self-centredness. Others come at the hands of well meaning but broken people. No matter the source, your suffering can be joined to that of the cross — Christ’s own Cross — for your continued sanctification, and for the sanctification of other people including the souls in purgatory.
    Here’s the thing: sin and suffering, death and dying do not have the final say. Your life of cheerful obedience in the face of hardship does. Your life of cheerful obedience to God in the face of shame and disappointment, these things make the difference,  and God tells us that our reward will be great in heaven. Indeed, we should be grateful for our hardships and several humiliations as this gives us an opportunity to share, at least in some small way, in the sufferings of Christ.
    What is your legacy? If you should die later today, what would be left behind? A path of discord? A trail of self pity and grief? Or would the evidence of your life be one of joy, concord, love for God and service to your fellow man? Even in the face of humiliation? What would the record show?
    Take a good look in the mirror. What do you see? And is it too late to turn again to God, to take up your cross and to follow him? I should think not. — Fr. Bengry, Calgary

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The photograph: From the Bengry collection. Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.