Fr. Robert Bengry: Build up—don't tear down.

There are those who have a vested interest in distorting truth, sowing discord and spreading falsehoods, but as difficult as it is (and it is!) do not let these kind of people bother you. The fruit of your efforts today are what matter most: are you faithful to God and the Church? Does your work and leisure demonstrate that reality? When you stumble, do you turn again to God the Holy and Undivided Trinity and beg for forgiveness? Do you resolve to sin no more? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these simple questions, then you’ve got nothing to worry about. 

Jesus says in Matthew 28:10 “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” You can expect that people will mock and belittle you. You can expect that they will not have your best interests at heart (which is what it means to have a lack of charity). You can expect that people — even those who claim to be Catholic — will not interpret your actions in the kindest light (which is their Christian duty); indeed you can expect them to do the very opposite. They will seek to tear you down rather than build you up. And it gets worse yet: think of the millions of Christians who suffer real persecution and even martyrdom. 

These are realities you can expect if you want to follow Christ... 

But there are other realities you can expect as well: that you are a beloved child of God... that you are redeemable... that no matter how dark or sad or difficult things get, that you can become holy and acceptable in the sight of God.

Pray for those who seek your ruin. Pray for yourself and thank God for all of your humiliations. Pray for those who suffer unjustly. Above all, seek to build up the kingdom rather than tear it down. 

— Fr. Robert Bengry

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The photo is one of so many I snapped in the Jerusalem. This one from my first night in the old city—an adventure with Fr. Sean Beahen as we found our way to the Holy Sepulchre in the dimly lit streets. So much grit and tension. Fr. Bengry

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The photograph: From the Bengry collection. Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved.