culture we have the concept of
and if someone insults me or my family, I will make them pay for it.
n His own time, many men and women
wanted to follow Christand many persons, who had too much honor and
prestige to lose if they followed Him, tried to challenge Him. In answer
to one of their tests, He told us the greatest commandment:
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your
soul, and with all your mind
In this regard, Christ also told
us two other important things.
First, He said that if anyone comes to Him without
his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own
life, he cannot be His disciple (see Luke 14 : 26). This means that, for a Christian,
no family loyalties can take precedence over loyalty to Christ’s commands. Only when
a Christian is detached from the illusions of this world—including illusions about family
honorcan the Christian be a true disciple.
Second, Christ said that whoever does
not carry his own cross and come after Him cannot be His disciple (see Luke 14:27).
When Christ died on the cross for our redemption, he opened
up the possibility of salvation for everyone. Therefore, to “carry your own cross” is
no esoteric abstraction. It means to tolerate insult as Christ didto
forgive others and pray for them
even as they are persecuting you, because to pray for those who injure you is to hold out
the hope that they will eventually repent their sins and accept
the redemption God holds out to them, just as He holds it out to you.
all the graces and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ grants to
his friends, is the grace of overcoming oneself, and accepting willingly,
out of love for Christ, all suffering, injury, discomfort and contempt; for
in all other gifts of God we cannot glory, seeing they proceed not from ourselves
but from God, according to the words of the Apostle, What hast thou
that thou hast not received from God? and if thou hast received it, why dost
thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? But in the cross of
tribulation and affliction we may glory, because, as the Apostle says again,
I will not glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus
The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
No Honor in the
There is no honor in the
cross. In fact, thats
what pride means: to run from the cross
by taking up yourself, not the cross, and to follow your own
will and your own idea of justice, not Gods.
For you to love God, therefore, your
pride has to die. It’s that simple, and there is no way around it. If you say that
pride is not an “issue” for you, and that some things require immediate revenge,
that claim itself is a form of self-deception, and that makes it an act of pride.
Moreover, not only is it important
that all pride and honor die in you, but also it is important to rejoice
in that death as the only path to holiness.
Count it pure
joy when you are involved in every sort of
Therefore, in regard to your
desire to avenge cultural, family, or personal insult, keep in mind
that when you pray the fifth petition of the Our
Father (forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us)
you are making a covenant with God. In so far as you
forgive others, you will be forgiven; but in so far
as you hate others and seek revenge, you disavow
forgiveness, not only for others but also for yourself.
But if you do
not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your
In effect, to tell someone to
go to hellno matter what language you say
it inis to send yourself there as well. Think about that. When you
run from the cross, there is only one place you can
go . . .
Christs Honor Guard
In speaking about the concept of honor
in regard to a Christian lifestyle, it could be asked whether Christ ever needs an
honor guard for anything. Does He really need swords and guns and fancy military
uniforms to escort Him anywhere? No. When Peter drew his sword in the Garden of
Gethsemane to protect Him, He told Peter to put the sword away (see John 18:10–11).
All Christ really needs as an “honor guard” is to be surrounded by friends who live
chaste and humble lives, detached
from secular impiety, and who refuse to commit
sin. We commit sin when we try to defend our honor by seeking
revenge on our enemies, but when we seek to forgive our enemies, well, then Christ’s
honor is defended.
1. Innocent readers tend to feel confused about
this passage. They wonder, How could Christ tell us to do something
so contrary to love? Well, Christ did not use the word hate
here according to its common, emotional meaning of loathing or
wishing harm upon someone or something. Instead, Christ used
the word with a theologically specific meaning: to remove your emotional
dependence on someone.