On Sundays too, or other days if necessary, you should discuss matters of discipline and your spiritual welfare; and on this occasion the indiscretions and failings of the brothers, if any be found at fault, should be lovingly corrected.
Rule of St. Albert, No. 15
When we encounter a difficult person, what do we do? If given the chance, surely we would flee from that person and pray never to see him or her ever again.
Not 16-year old Annie Zelikova . For her, every difficult encounter is an opportunity to be a witness of God’s love for humanity, even if it means having to suffer unjust treatment from others.
When, out of concern for her health, her nun friend scolded her for working in the kitchen against the doctor’s advice to rest, Annie was tempted to reason out, to tell her friend that she needed to work because her mother was out taking care of her great aunt. But instead, she chose not to say anything.
“Jesus helped me to realize ‘how this sour salad tastes,’ that it is a new pearl for the decoration of the tabernacle,” she later wrote.
And when her great aunt, who had become a burden to the family, died, her nun friend retorted: “Your dad, Annie, is glad that now after the death of auntie, you live like in heaven,” to which she replied, “Yes, our good God gave us auntie to help us to practice self-control and strengthen ourselves in virtue. But now this opportunity is lost to us!”
When we are faced with a person who proves to be difficult to be with what would we do? Would we criticize that person – openly or secretly, in person or with other people? Would we wish for that person to change according to our concept of what is right or wrong? Or are we willing to understand the person and accept him/her regardless of his/her faults?
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Lord, grant me the heart to tolerate, understand, and love the people who are giving me so much difficulty, knowing that you sent them for me to understand and love.