Saturday, February 28, 2015

Maltreatment and Providence

As I mentioned the other day, I have decided to get back to reading Fr.Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange's Providence, which I have on my Kindle. I have read parts of it, and as I returned to it, I noticed excerpts I had highlighted (I like that highlighting feature of Kindle! ). Thank goodness I highlight some things; otherwise, I would forget them forever.   

Below I’ve inserted one of those excerpts. When I read it, I saw that it was applicable to a situation that had developed between a good priest friend of mine and his bishop. It is so sad that so many good priests are persecuted by their bishops! And yet, there is much grace given to those who choose to endure the maltreatment and injustice (though, as we read below, there are times when “some answer is called for”).

St. Thomas, speaking of the injuries and undeserved reproaches, the insults and slanders that affect only our person, declares we must be ready to bear them with patience in compliance with our Lord's words: "If one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other" (Matt. 5: 39). But, he continues, there are occasions when some answer is called for, either for the good of the person who injures us, to put a stop to his insolence, or to avoid the scandal such slanders and calumnies may cause. If we do feel bound to retaliate and offer some sort of resistance, let us put ourselves unreservedly in God's hands for the success of the steps we take. In other words, we must deplore and reprove these acts of injustice not because they are wounding to our self-love and pride, but because they are an offense against God, endangering the salvation of the guilty parties and of those who may be led astray by them.

So far as we are concerned, we should see in the injustice men do to us the action of Divine justice permitting this evil in order to give us an opportunity of expiating other and very real failings, failings with which no one reproaches us. It is well also to see in this sort of trial the action of Divine mercy, which would make of it a means to detach us from creatures, to rid us of our inordinate affections, our pride and lukewarmness, and thus oblige us to have immediate recourse to a fervent prayer of supplication. Spiritually these acts of injustice are like the surgeon's knife, very painful at times but a great corrective. The suffering they cause must bring home to us the value of true justice; not only must it lead us to be just in our dealings with our neighbor, but it must give birth in us to the beatitude of those who, as the Gospel says, hunger and thirst after justice and who shall indeed have their fill.

And so, instead of upsetting and embittering us, men's contempt for us may have a very salutary effect, by impressing us with the utter vanity of all human glory and with the sublimity of the glory of God as the saints have understood it. It is the way leading to that true humility which causes us to accept contempt and to love to be treated as objects worthy of contempt.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!

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