A Year with the Saints – 20 May


Beware of becoming vexed or impatient at the faults of others; for it would be folly when you see a man falling into a ditch, to throw yourself into another to no purpose. – Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

Cardinal Cesarini, a man of most gentle disposition, having been told that the mule he usually rode was lost through the neglect of a servant sent for him; but when he asked him about the matter, the man replied very rudely. The Cardinal was silent at first, but when the servant continued his impertinence, he turned to the bystanders and said: “Do not wonder at my silence, for I thought it best to suppress my anger and give reason time to gain control over passion, lest I should fall myself into a fault, by trying to correct the fault of another.”

A reckless youth was once brought to Saint Francis de Sales, that the Saint might give him a private correction; but instead of rigor, he showed extreme gentleness with him. Seeing his obstinacy, he shed bitter tears, saying that this young man would come to a bad end, as indeed happened, for he was killed in a duel. When Saint Francis was afterwards blamed for being too mild on this occasion, he answered: “What would you have me do? I tried as well as I could, to arm myself with an anger that should not be sinful, and therefore I took my heart in both my hands, but I had not strength to fling it in his face. And then, to tell the truth, I feared to lose that little stock of mildness, which I have labored for twenty-two years to collect, like dew, in the vase of my heart. The bees have been many years in gathering the honey, which a man swallows at a draught. Besides, what is the use of speaking to one who does not listen? That foolish youth was not capable of correction, for he was not master of his own judgment. So I could not have helped him, and might have injured myself, like those who are drowned with shipwrecked sailors, whom they are trying to rescue. Charity ought to be judicious and prudent.”

MLA Citation