Rorate Caeli

Of mildness, and fraternal correction

Our charity is sometimes put to a hard test in our contact with others; and the irritating behavior of some individuals can arouse feelings of anger and indignation despite our resolutions to be mild. We should not allow ourselves to become discouraged, as these spontaneous reactions are very often independent of our will. We are not, however, justified in giving way to them under the pretext that it is too hard to resist and that we are carried away in spite of ourselves. We can always subdue these impulses of passion; and the quicker, more energetic and mild our reaction is, the greater will be our success in overcoming them. 

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus taught a novice: "Whenever someone exasperates you, even to the point of making you angry, the way to regain peace of soul is to pray for that person and to ask God to reward her for giving you an opportunity to suffer." And she suggested that the novice forestall these occasions by trying to "soften her heart in advance."

Furthermore, if we reply angrily to another's anger, we shall only be fanning the flames, when we should be making every attempt to extinguish them by mildness and meekness. Mildness, however, is not condescension to evil, and much less, connivance with it. There are times, as the Gospel teaches, when fraternal correction is required; in such cases it becomes a real act of charity. But to make it truly so, it must never be done with the intention of humiliating, of mortifying, and still less, of offending the guilty one; nor should it ever be inspired, even indirectly, by personal reasons: to insure respect for our rights or opinions, or to revenge ourselves for some previous slight given to us. In these cases, the correction, far from being an act of charity, is completely contrary to this virtue; and instead of doing good, it will rather produce the opposite effect. Only a sincere dispassionate desire for the good of others can make fraternal correction charitable and efficacious; it should be made with so much kindness that the person concerned feels our love for him far more than the humiliation of being corrected. This is the way Jesus treated sinners; all were cured by His love and mildness.


Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene (Gabriele di Santa Maria Maddalena)
Divine Intimacy (Intimità divina)

10 comments:

Dan Hunter said...

"Rorate's" Charity continues.

Thank you ever so much.

Supertradmum said...

Some of us have had training is not responding to anger through teacher training when those of us called to teach at risk students faced anger in the classrooms frequently. Techniques to defuse and not enter into another one's anger is founded on an objectivity and great inner peace. I have noticed in the past three months here is Europe, a great inability of the younger generation to argue points without getting personal. I have written about this on my blog, as I think my generation, the Boomers, were the last one to have to take logic and debate in high school, where we learned to avoid and identify the fallacies.

Now, we face one or two generations which cannot argue objective points but only subjective, personality based points. This is so sad, as it weakens the Church from within. I taught logic and debate at the college and university level and my students had epiphanies as to the proper way of winning a formal argument.

As Catholics, we have the added gifts of the virtues from Baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation to help us with becoming objective. As the civilizations of the West disappear into relativism and subjectivity, it will be harder to enter into conversations with those who insist on being personal.

Lynne said...

Divine Intimacy is available through Baronius Press again! I just got mine last week. It is wonderful.

Jeanne Holler said...

Divine Intimacy is a TREASURE every Christian should have ...I bought mine some time ago , last year on the recommendation of my spiritual director ..
Thanks for this post ...it is always so nourishing to come here and be fed with the Living Word.
God Bless you!

r said...

Fr. Gabriel's words are wise. Many of the commentators on this blog have clearly presented their uncharitable thoughts toward Pope Francis. Are they justified under the guise of "fraternal correction?" I don't think that is what Fr. Gabriel is condoning here. If I were discerning becoming a Christian, and saw the vile words that have been said here about the Vicar of Christ on earth, I would have serious reservations about what Christian charity is comprised of. If you feel a need to be so critical of this pope, pray for him! Don't use the comment portion on Rorate as your outlet. If you were standing in front of Pope Francis, would you say to his face what you've written here, folks? I would hope not!

3fbb3724-e751-11e2-b8e9-000bcdcb5194 said...

Good stuff! But why the weird hard to read font?

Jack said...

\\3fbb3724-e751-11e2-b8e9-000bcdcb5194 said...
Good stuff! But why the weird hard to read font?\\

\\New Catholic said...
It is our default font, he problem mus be on your side\\

Weird things happen to typography in the cyberworld. More than once e-mail I send to someone changes size and even font, becoming smaller or larger, especially when I have cut and pasted something else into it.

JB said...


R, the pope himself might benefit from reading some of the admonitions here based on some of his off the cuff remarks. he is human, not semi divine. We all need correction here and there.

Adfero said...

Font was posted fine, then changed half a day later! Satan works in mysterious ways! :)

Sarah said...

To r:
I don't recall reading any "vile words" about the holy father in the Rorate com-box. If you classify understandable expressions of frustration with some of his off-the-cuff remarks and strange behavior as "vile words," I would ask you to consider whether a child or adolescent may be justified in speaking out when a parent says or does something that confuses or frustrates him. I'm not saying the child is justified in disobeying his parents--unless the latter has told him to do something morally wrong--but if a bishop, and even the holy father, says or does something that disturbs us, how is it automatically "uncharitable" or "vile" to put our frustration into words, as long as we persist in true obedience and a filial commitment to help our pope--and all our bishops and priests--with our prayers. Words are also necessary, though. Or would you accuse St. Catherine of Siena and St. Padre Pio of "vile words" when they openly criticized (out of love for him and for the Church) the words and actions even of the holy father?