A Year with the Saints – 24 November

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Let us endeavor to show ourselves full of compassion towards the faulty and the sinful. If we do not show compassion and charity to these, we do not deserve to have God show it towards us. – Saint Vincent de Paul

This Saint was never astonished at any fault that he saw committed; for he said that to commit faults was the characteristic of man, as he was conceived and born in sin. This acquaintance that he had with the common miseries of man was what made him behave with so much sweetness and compassion to all sinners. He avoided harshness and used only mild and compassionate words and ways, even with the most guilty, endeavoring to conceal and make little account of their faults with a marvellous prudence and charity, and desiring to have his missionaries follow the same course.

When Saint John Berchmans had charge of the Novitiate, if the Father Rector ordered him to impose a penance upon any novice, he felt such great compassion that he would kneel and ask the favor of performing it in his place. But when this was not granted, he imposed it with such suavity, that no one ever showed any hesitation about accepting it.

Saint Francis once said to the Blessed Cataneus, his General: “By this I shall know whether you love God and me, His and your servant; that is, by your showing mercy to delinquents. When you find one, do not let him go without his feeling the effect of your kindness; and if you see him fall a thousand times, love him always more than myself, that you may attract him to good, and never fail to be merciful to all such.”

Saint Francis de Sales had a heart so tender towards evildoers that he often said, “There is no one but God and myself who truly loves wicked men.” He gave proof of extraordinary charity towards them by ascribing their misdeeds to human frailty.

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