A Year with the Saints – 24 January


To be pleased at correction and reproofs shows that one loves the virtues which are contrary to those faults for which he is corrected and reproved. And, therefore, it is a great sign of advancement in perfection. Saint Francis de Sales

When a monk once visited the Abbot Serapion, he suggested that first of all, they should pray together. But the visitor refused, saying that he was a great sinner and unworthy to wear the habit. A little while after, the Abbot addressed him thus: “My brother, if you wish to become perfect, remain at work in your cell and do not talk much, for going about a great deal is not desirable for you.” At these words the monk was not a little perturbed. When the Abbot perceived this, he added, “What is the matter, brother? A moment ago you said you were so great a sinner that you were not worthy to live; and now, when I have shown you, in charity, what you need, are you angry? From this, it would seem that your humility is not genuine. If you wish to be humble in truth, learn to receive admonitions humbly.” At this reproof, the monk recollected himself, acknowledged his fault and went away greatly edified.

The Empress Leonora requested her confessor and those ladies of her court with whom she was most intimate that when they observed anything in her that needed amendment or improvement, to inform her of it with all possible freedom, as they would tell her the pleasantest news; and when they did it, she thanked them very cordially.

When Saint Peter was reproved by Saint Paul he was not angry; neither did he stand upon his dignity as Superior, nor look down upon the other for having been a persecutor of the Church, but received the advice in good part.

We read of Saint Ambrose, that when anyone informed him of a fault, he thanked him as for a special favor; and there was a certain Cistercian who was especially pleased at an admonition, and used to say an Our Father for whoever gave it.

Saint John Berchmans always entertained a great desire to have his faults told him in public and to be reproved for them, and if this ever happened he was much pleased. With this intention, he used to write them on scraps of paper, which he gave to the Superiors, that they might read them and reprimand him for them. Not content with this, he asked of the Superior that four of his companions might keep their eyes on him and admonish him. One of these testified that having once drawn his attention to a slight omission into which he had fallen, on account of being occupied in another work of charity at the time, he thanked him cordially for the warning and said the beads for him three times, promising that he would always do the same whenever he would inform him of any defect.

MLA Citation