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Kempis on: Bearing with the Faults of Others



Matthew 15:11,18

It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one. But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile.

 

I listen to many homilies on YouTube. Although our particular pastor delivers straight-forward, in-your-face, truthful homilies, I like to get the perspective from other priests. (One of my favorites is Father Michael O'Connor of Our Lady of the Gulf in Bay St. Louis, MS. Another is Father David Miller of St. Dorothy in Lincolnton, NC.)


Recently I watched a sermon from Father Mark Bernhard of Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. He spoke about the "fire" that can come out of one's mouth, and how destructive it can be. Quote: "Everything you say must be true; but not everything that’s true needs to be said."


If you've read any of my writing, I have admitted, perhaps confessed to you, how destructive my mouth once was. Looking back, but not dwell on, I realize the demoralization of one's psyche is akin to physical harm. I regret that so much. In my case, and if only I had been humble, I would have had nothing to 'shoot my mouth off' about. Thomas Kempis explains this nicely.


Kempis:


Until God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others.
Perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account.
If, after being admonished once or twice, a person does not amend, do not argue with him but commit the whole matter to God.
Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure.
We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves.
But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough.
Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man's virtue is best revealed in time of adversity--adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is. (my emphasis)

(Note: When I emphasize certain points, the emphasis is what made me see the light... not to point fingers.)


Ephesians 4:29

No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.


The second part of Father Bernhard's quote (but not everything that’s true needs to be said) delivers a very important point that I finally learned.


Short story:


Nine years ago both my parents passed within 3 months of one-another. The history between us is unimportant, save one. My dad and I were never close, and not sure we really loved each other. A month before my mom passed, she told be the circumstance. It was a secret she had kept from me my whole life. Here I am, 61 and just finding out. In addition, it was a ludicrous and childish reason. Still, it explained much about my dad's feelings towards me. When he passed, I was very upset in that we had no closure. I took it out on my 5 siblings, via email. (It took awhile, but understanding God's Love and Mercy, and how necessary it is for us to forgive... I have forgiven him and pray for him each day.)


I did not go back to Nebraska for his funeral and this upset the 5, which is what prompted an email. In the email everything I wrote was the truth... "but not everything that’s true needs to be said". The tone of the email was mean and was meant to hurt. Being the oldest, I'm the one they came to many times. That stopped. In fact, it had the adverse effect. I have only reconnected with my youngest sister. It took nearly 5 years. My brothers were much closer to my dad and they didn't/don't understand what upset me. (Within a couple of months I called each sibling, repented, and asked for forgiveness.)


The moral of the story is, I didn't have to write an email at all. But my pride got the best of me. I was intent of saying what I had to say. This wasn't the first time I pulled anything like this, but it was, perhaps the most damaging.


When I began my conversion, 12 years ago, I studied the eight commandment, "Thou shall not bear false witness." That, I fixed in a hurry, when I realized how much of a sin it was. It took me longer to realize the sin of a vehement mouth and how it defiled me.


In the words of St. Alphonsus Liguori:


"When an evil thought is presented to the mind, we must immediately endeavor to turn our thoughts to God, or to something which is indifferent. But the first rule is, instantly to invoke the names of Jesus and Mary and to continue to invoke them until the temptation ceases. He who trusts in himself is lost. He who trusts in God can do all things." (my emphasis)


Amen?


God Bless you

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fatheratchley
fatheratchley
24 sept 2023

More and more I see that patiently bearing with others' faults is the only way out of ours age of covetousness. Steeped in desires for what belongs to others, we carelessly abort, organ-harvest, starve, steal and lie against our neighbor as a matter of course. Christian values of justice and charity have been jettisoned for self-empowerment, pleasure and fickle choice. The world is beyond naive to think that global conceit won’t come crashing down on all concerned. For the simple truth is, you reap what you sow.

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