Sunday, 10 February 2008

Words of wisdom

I've been wanting to quote the following words of wisdom all week, since I first read them, but haven't found time until now. So here they are, thanks to Francis:

"When you are justly accused of some fault that you have committed,
humble yourself very much,
confess that you deserve the accusation which is made against you.

But should the accusation be false, excuse yourself meekly, denying your guilt,
for you owe this duty to the truth and to the edification of your neighbour;

but if, after your true and legitimate excuse, they still continue to accuse you,
be not troubled and do not try to get your excuse accepted;
for after you have done your duty to the truth, you ought to do (your duty) also to humility.

In this way you will neither offend against the care which you ought to have of your good name,
nor against the affection which you owe to tranquillity, gentleness of heart, and humility.

Complain as little as possible of the wrongs which are done to you;
for it is certain that ordinarily he who complains, sins, because self-love ever makes us think the injuries greater than they really are;
but above all do not complain to such persons as are prone to wax indignant and to think evil.

But if it be expedient to make a complaint to someone, either to redress the injury, or to tranquilize your spirit, let it be made to such persons as are peaceable and love God;

for otherwise instead of easing your heart they will provoke it to still greater disquietude;
instead of removing the thorn which is pricking you, they will drive it deeper into your foot..."

This was written by Francis De Sales, bishop of Geneva, who lived between 1567 and 1622. How amazing to think that these words, written 400 years ago in 1609 (Introduction to the Devout Life), are so pertinent today.

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