Christ Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves” (Matthew 11:29). At the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
Traditionally, this beatitude was seen as related to the gift of piety and the virtue of justice. The gift of piety helps us to live as children of God. When we acknowledge fatherhood of God, we must also acknowledge the brotherhood of men. We recognize others as being created according to the image of God, and thus treat them with respect.
The virtue of justice requires us to give to others their due. We should respect others, for all people are either already the temple of God through grace or capable of becoming the temple of God.
St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) was a saint whose meekness helped to win souls for Christ. Francis was ordained in 1593. As a young priest, he started an expedition to Thonon-les-Bains, France, to convert non-Catholic Christians back to Catholicism. After three difficult years, there was not even one convert. But Francis was an unusually patient man. He wrote leaflets, copied them by hand, and slipped them under the doors of the people who would not listen to him. These leaflets were later published in one volume called “The Catholic Controversy.” Today St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint for journalists.
Francis won the heart of the people gradually with his meekness and kindness. Parents would not come to Francis, so he came to their children and played with them. When the parents saw how kind he was as he played with their children, they started to talk to him.
Eventually more and more people came to listen to his sermons, and conversions became more frequent. By the time he left Thonon-les-Bains, Francis had brought 40,000 people back to the Catholic faith.
St. Francis de Sales said, “When you have to make arrangements, settle quarrels, or win others to your views, take care to be as mild as possible. You will accomplish more, and conquer more readily, by yielding and humbling yourself, than by harshness and disputation. Who does not know that more flies are caught with an ounce of honey than with a hundred barrels of vinegar?”
St. Francis de Sales laboured for 22 years to acquire meekness and mildness. He once said, “You see, I have made a compact with my tongue, that when anything is said against me that may excite me to anger, it will beware of uttering a word.”
The saint taught: “The remedies against anger are: 1. To forestall its movements, if possible, or at least to cast them aside quickly, by turning the thoughts to something else. 2. In imitation of the Apostles when they saw the sea raging, to have recourse to God, whose office it is to give peace to the heart. 3. During the heat of passion, not to speak, nor take any action as to the matter in question. 4. To strive to perform acts of kindness and humility towards the person against whom one is incensed, especially in reparation for any of a contrary nature.”
According to Sacred Scripture, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) St. Vincent de Paul said, “At times a single word is sufficient to cool a person who us burning with anger; and , on the other hand, a single word may be capable of desolating a soul, and infusing into it a bitterness which may be most hurtful.”
St. Vincent de Paul would not permit his missionaries to treat penitents with austerity and harshness. With great patience and cordiality, St. Vincent de Paul also converted many non-Catholic Christians to the Catholic faith.
二十二年來，聖方濟.沙雷努力嘗習溫良和善。他曾道：「你看，我與我的舌頭約定：每當我遇到反對我的說話而可能令我忿怒時，舌頭要謹防說出一個字。」聖人教道：「對抗忿怒救藥是：1.如果可以，要防止忿怒的移動，或至少盡快把忿怒旁落，去將思想轉向其他的事。2. 向宗徒們學習吧。他們面對怒海，轉向尋求天主，祂會賜予內心的平安。3. 意氣衝動時，對有關事誼不發一言、不蠕一動。4. 對令自己忿怒的人，努力去為他作仁愛與謙遜的行為，以特別賠補任何達反這些德行的行為。」
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