Reading The Diary of a Country Priest: Suffering and Humility

By Thomas V. Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jun 08, 2015

[This is part of a series of articles collecting insightful passages on various themes from Georges Bernanos's classic novel The Diary of a Country Priest.]

Suffering

  • I can understand how a man, sure of himself and his courage, might wish to make of his death a perfect end. As that isn’t in my line, my death shall be what it can be, and nothing more. Were it not a very daring thing to say, I would like to add that to a true lover, the halting confession of his beloved is more dear than the most beautiful poem. And when you come to think of it, such a comparison should offend no one, for human agony is beyond all an act of love.
  • The fact is I suddenly realized that ever since leaving the doctor’s I had been burning to tell my secret, to share its bitterness with somebody. And I realized, too, that to recover my peace, I only required to be silent…. I know the compassion of others is a relief at first. I don’t despise it. But it can’t quench pain, it slips through your soul as through a sieve. And when our suffering has been dragged from one pity to another, as from one mouth to another, we can no longer respect or love it, I feel—

Humility

  • To doubt oneself is not to be humble, I even think that sometimes it is the most hysterical form of pride, a pride almost delirious, a kind of jealous ferocity which makes an unhappy man turn and rend himself. That must be the real truth of hell.
  • How easy it is to hate oneself! True grace is to forget. Yet if pride could die in us, the supreme grace would be to love oneself in all simplicity—as one would love any one of those who themselves have suffered and loved in Christ.

Previous in series: Hell

Thomas V. Mirus is an administrative assistant and writer at CatholicCulture.org. A jazz pianist with a music degree, he often takes the lead in our commentary on the arts. See full bio.

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