Morning Meditations for Tuesday – Second Week After Easter ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Mediation

CHARITY TO BE PRACTISED IN WORDS

The sowers of discord are objects of abomination in God’s sight: Six things there are which the Lord hateth and the seventh his soul detesteth him that soweth discord among brethren-(Prov. vi. 16, 19}. An uncharitable word that proceeds from passion may be excusable, but how can the Almighty bear with him who sows discord and disturbs the peace of a community?

Hast thou heard a word against thy neighbor? Let it die within thee-(Ecclus xix. 10).

I.

Be careful never to mention to anyone that another has spoken ill of him: for tale-bearing of this kind sometimes occasions disputes and aversions which last for a long time. Oh! how frightful the account which tale-bearers must render to God! The sowers of discord are objects of abomination in His sight.

Six things there are which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth . . . him that soweth discord among brethren-(Prov. vi. 16, 19). An uncharitable word that proceeds from passion may be excusable. But how can the Almighty bear with him who sows discord and disturbs the peace of a community? Listen to the advice of the Holy Ghost: Hast thou heard a word against thy neighbor? Let it die within thee (Ecclus. xix. 10). The words that you hear against another must not only be kept to yourself, but must even die and be buried within you. You must be careful, then, never to give the slightest intimation of what you have heard. For a single word, a nod, a simple hint, may lead others to a knowledge, or at least to a suspicion, of the faults that were mentioned to you.

Some appear to suffer the pangs of death until they have disclosed the secrets communicated to them; as if these secrets were so many thorns that wound their very heart until they are drawn out. You should never mention the hidden defects of others to anyone except to Superiors, and not even to them unless the reparation of the injury done to the community, or the good of the one who has committed the fault, require that it should be made known to the Superior.

Moreover, in your conversation you must be careful never to wound, even by jests, the feelings of another. Jests that offend a neighbour are opposed to charity, and to the words of Jesus Christ: All things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them-(Matt. vii. 12). You certainly would not like to be made an object of derision and of mockery before your companions. Abstain then from casting ridicule on others.

Endeavour also to avoid as much as possible all disputes. Sometimes trifles give occasion to arguments that end in disputes and injurious language. There are some who violate charity by proposing, through the spirit of contradiction, certain topics of debate which give rise to useless disputation. Strive not, says the Wise Man, in a matter which doth not concern thee-(Ecclus. xi. 9).

II.

But some will say that in every debate they defend the right side of the question, and that they cannot listen in silence to assertions utterly destitute of foundation. I answer in the words of Blessed Cardinal Bellarmine: “An ounce of charity is of more value than a hundred cartloads of reason.” Blessed Egidius used to say that in such controversies to submit is to conquer; because submission evinces a superiority in virtue and preserves peace. Surely the preservation of peace is of far greater importance than the empty honour of a wordy victory. Hence St. Ephrem used to say that to maintain peace he always yielded to his adversary in disputation. St. Joseph Calasanctius, therefore, advises “all who desire peace never to contradict anyone.”

But, if you love charity, endeavour to be affable and meek to all. Meekness is the characteristic virtue of the lamb; it is the beloved virtue of Jesus Christ, Who, through a love of meekness, took the appellation of Lamb. In your conversation and intercourse with others be agreeable not only to those over you, but to all, and particularly to those who have offended you, who oppose your wishes, or displease you by their roughness of manner, or by their forgetfulness of past favours. Charity is patient: beareth all things-(l Cor. xiii. 4, 7). Whoever, then, bears not with the defects of his neighbour cannot have true charity. The most perfect souls are Dot free from all defects. You yourself are subject to faults; and notwithstanding your manifold imperfections you expect to be treated with charity and compassion You therefore should, according to the advice of the Apostle, compassionate the defects of others. Bear ye one another’s burdens-(Gal. vi. 2). A mother, because she loves them, submits in patience to the insolence of her children. It is by the manner in which you bear the burdens others impose on you that you are to judge whether you love your neighbour with true charity.

Oh! with what charity did the Redeemer bear with the rudeness and imperfections of His disciples during the whole time He lived with them! With what charity did He wash the feet of the traitor Judas! With what patience has He borne even to the present moment with your sinfulness and ingratitude! And will you refuse to bear with the defects of your neighbours? The physician while he loves a patient loathes his disease; and if you have charity you must love your neighbours and at the same time hate their faults. But you will say: What am I to do? I have a natural repugnance to the society of such a person, and feel it painful to hold intercourse with him. My answer is: Have more feonrour and more charity, and all such antipathies will vanish.

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