‘Death Dignified by Christ’

Over at First Things, David Mills tells the poignant story of his father’s death — one that, by any modern standard, would have been considered humiliating and undignified. It wasn’t pretty, Mills admits, but he says that his father’s willing acceptance of his circumstances was more “dignified” than any easy way out:

This is what my father taught me: to die with dignity means to accept what God has given you and deal with it till the end. It means to play the hand God has dealt you, no matter how bad a hand it is, without folding. It means actually to live as if the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, and in either case blessed be the name of the Lord.

It’s dignity of a different sort than the corruptingly euphemistic slogan “death with dignity” suggests. There is a great—eternal—dignity in accepting whatever indignities you have to suffer to remain faithful to God and to do what he has given you to do. A man can be humiliated and yet noble, and the humiliations make the nobility all the more obvious. My father died with dignity, though the advocates of euthanasia and the clean, quick, controlled exit might not think so.

It’s what Jesus did: dying with dignity, in obedience to his Father suffering all the pain and humiliation this world could give.

Read the whole thing here.

Margaret Cabaniss

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Margaret Cabaniss is the former managing editor of Crisis Magazine. She joined Crisis in 2002 after graduating from the University of the South with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She now blogs at SlowMama.com.

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