Josemaría Escrivá Obras
 
 
 
 
 
 
  The Way > Charity > Chap. 19
440

When you have finished your work, do your brother's, helping him, for Christ's sake, so tactfully and so naturally that no one — not even he — will realise that you are doing more than what in justice you ought.

This, indeed, is virtue befitting a son of God!


441

You are hurt by your neighbour's lack of charity towards you. Think how God must be hurt by your lack of charity — of Love — towards him!


442

Never think badly of anyone, not even if the words or conduct of the person in question give you good grounds for doing so.


443

Don't make negative criticism: if you can't praise, say nothing.


444

Never speak badly of your brother, not even when you have plenty of reasons. Go first to the Tabernacle, and then go to the priest your father, and tell him also what is worrying you.

And no one else.


445

Gossip is a disease that infects and poisons the apostolate. It goes against charity, means a waste of energy, takes away peace and destroys one's union with God.


446

If you are so weak, is it surprising that others too have their weaknesses?


447

After seeing how many people waste their lives, their whole lives (tongues wagging, wagging, wagging, and all the inevitable consequences), silence seems preferable to me, and more necessary than ever.

And I well understand, Lord, why we have to give an account of all our idle words.


448

It's easier said than done. With that cutting, hatchet-like tongue, have you ever tried, even by chance, to do 'well' what, according to your 'considered' opinion, others do less well?


449

Call it by its name: grumbling, gossiping, back-biting, mischief making, tale-bearing, scandal-mongering, intrigue..., slander..., treachery?

Self-appointed critics sitting in judgment easily end up as 'gossiping old maids'!


450

What great offence is given to God, and what great injury done to many souls — and what means of sanctification provided for others — by the injustice of the 'just'!


451

Let us be slow to judge. — Each one sees things from his own point of view, as his mind, with all its limitations, tells him, and through eyes that are often dimmed and clouded by passion.

Moreover, as happens with those modernist painters, the outlook of certain people is so unhealthily subjective that they dash off a few random strokes and assure us that they represent our portrait, our conduct.

Of what little worth are the judgments of men! Don't judge without sifting your judgment in prayer.


452

Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offence that you can suffer from them is as nothing compared with what God has pardoned you.


453

Do you speak badly of others? Then you are losing the right spirit and, if you do not learn to check your tongue, each word will take you one step nearer the exit from that apostolic undertaking in which you work.


454

Don't judge without having heard both sides. Even people who think themselves virtuous very easily forget this elementary rule of prudence.


455

Do you know what damage you may cause by throwing stones with your eyes blindfold?

Neither do you know the harm you may cause — and at times it is very great — by letting drop uncharitable remarks that to you seem trifling, because your eyes are blinded by thoughtlessness or passion.


456

To criticize, to destroy, is not difficult; any unskilled labourer knows how to drive his pick into the noble and finely-hewn stone of a cathedral.

To construct: that is what requires the skill of a master.


457

Who are you to pass judgment on the decision of a superior? Don't you see that he is better fitted to judge than you? He has more experience; he has more capable, impartial and trustworthy advisers; and, above all, he has more grace, a special grace, the grace of state — God's light and his powerful aid.


458

Those clashes with the world's selfishness will make you appreciate all the more the fraternal charity of your brother-apostles.


459

Your charity is ostentatious. From afar, you attract; you have light. From near by, you repel; you lack warmth. What a pity I


460

'Frater qui adiuvatur a fratre quasi civitas firma. Brother helped by brother is a fortress.'

Think for a moment and make up your mind to live the fraternal spirit that I have always asked of you.


461

If I don't see you practise that fraternal spirit that I preach to you constantly, I shall remind you of those affectionate words of Saint John: 'My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active'.


462

The power of charity! — If you live that blessed fraternal spirit your mutual weakness will also be a support to keep you upright in the fulfilment of duty: just as in a house of cards, one card supports another.


463

Charity does not consist so much in 'giving' as in 'understanding'. Therefore, seek an excuse for your neighbour — there is always one be found, — if it is your duty to judge.


464

You know of someone whose soul is in danger? — From afar, with your life of union, you can give him effective help. Help him then, and don't worry.


465

I am glad that you feel concern for your brothers: there is no better proof of your mutual charity. Take care, however, that your concern does not degenerate into anxiety.


466

'Generally', you write, 'people are anything but generous with their money. Plenty of talk, of loud enthusiasm, of promises and plans. But at the moment of sacrifice few come forward to lend a hand. And if they do give, it has to be with "trimmings" attached: a dance, a raffle, a cinema or theatre show, or an announcement and subscription list in the newspapers.'

It's a sad state of affairs, but it has its exceptions. May you also be one of those who, when they give alms, don't let their left hand know what their right hand is doing.


467

Books. I put out my hand, like one of Christ's beggars, and I asked for books. Books, — that are nourishment for the Catholic, apostolic and Roman minds of many young students.

I put out my hand, like one of Christ's beggars, and each time had it brushed heedlessly aside! Why, Jesus, can people not understand the profound christian charity of this alms, more effective than a gift of the finest bread.


468

You were too naive: you tell me that there are very few who really practise charity, and that to be charitable does not mean to give away old clothes or coppers...

And you tell me your tale of woe and your disillusionment.

Only one thing will I say: let you and me give and give ourselves unstintingly. And we will spare others your sad experience.


469

'Salute all the saints. All the saints send you greetings. To all the saints who are at Ephesus. To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi.' — What a moving name — saints! — the early Christians used to address to each other!...

Learn to be a brother to your brothers.


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