You other brothers too, hold your Prior in humble reverence, your minds not on him but on Christ who has placed him over you, and who, to those who rule the Churches, addressed these words: Whoever pays you heed pays heed to me, and whoever treats you with dishonor, dishonors me; if you remain so minded you will not be found guilty of contempt, but will merit life eternal as fit reward for your obedience.
-Rule of St. Albert, No. 23
As sisters and brothers in Christ, we are expected to love each other, and more so when it comes to none believers of the Christian faith.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul said, “Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:10).
So, if a brother offends you, if you feel that you are being degraded by a brother, whether in private or in a group, just smile.
Pray for patience, pray for understanding. Breathe and in your heart reaffirm your love for the brother. As Paul said, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14).
Carmen de Sojo, a devoted wife and a Carmelite tertiary, took her vows sincerely, especially humility and simplicity.
Being married to a doctor and coming from an elite family, she was expected to live up to her status, but her convictions and dedication to her faith made her desire none of these.
Because of this, she earned snickers and criticisms from people. One time, two ladies made fun and belittled her. Thinking that Carmen was so simple minded they used French in their conversation, convinced that she won’t understand anything. But Carmen understood very well because she was fluent in French. When they left and bid her goodbye, she did not give even a hint that she understood what they said, which were all criticisms and mockeries of her person.
When people misjudge her, she does not complain. Actually, it’s one of her favorite practices. Not to retaliate, not even to show a hint of disappointment, anger, embarrassment, or such other negative feelings against her associates’ malicious treatment of her.
So, don’t argue, don’t negate, don’t say anything.
Smile and love the brother even more, because in all honesty, he is bringing you closer to God.
It is better to appear stupid than to lose a brother. That is how different God’s ways are.
What is your initial reaction when you feel slighted? What is a more Christian way of dealing with such a situation?
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Lord, grant me a humble heart, willing to accept criticisms, snide remarks, humiliation, and injustice. And Lord, please allow me to love the brother and sister who is giving such wonderful donations of criticisms, snide remarks, humiliation and injustice to my person, without me needing and wanting redress. Make me be more like Christ. Amen.