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Ave Maria Meditations
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THE MANTLE OF CHARITY

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PRESENCE OF GOD – 0 Lord, teach me to cover the defects and faults of others with the mantle of charity. ??

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MEDITATION

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1.?Do not speak against one another, my brethren. He that speaks against a brother … speaks against the law” (Jas.4:11), that is, he contradicts the evangelical law of fraternal charity. To speak evil of our neighbor does not necessarily mean that we spread unjust suspicions about him or accuse him of faults and wrong deeds which he has not committed. It is sufficient to mention needlessly the faults of others, even though they be real and known to all. To do this is to act contrary to charity, because it fixes our own attention and that of others, on the imperfections of the neighbor rather than on his good qualities. As a result, we lessen in ?the mind of the listener the esteem due to our neighbor.

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Quite different is the behavior of charity, which as Holy Scripture says, “covereth all sins” (Pv. 10:12) and tries to hide the failings of others rather than draw attention to them.? How instinctively we hide our own faults and blunders, not wishing them to be a subject of conversation. We should employ the same skill in concealing the faults of others. We are so sensitive about things said against us; how can we think that it is a wholly indifferent thing to speak with so much liberty about our neighbor’s faults under the pretext that what we say is true and already known? Are not our faults equally true, perhaps, and evident to all who approach us?

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Fraternal charity means loving our neighbor for God’s sake., because he belongs to God and is the work of His hands. As a mother does not care to have her children’s faults spoken of, nor an artist like to have his works criticized, neither is God pleased to have us talk about the faults of His creatures. Therefore, we must not only strictly refrain from speaking about the faults of others, but we must also avoid paying attention to those who do talk about them.

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St. John of the Cross says, ” Never listen to the weaknesses others and if anyone complains to thee of another, tell him humbly to say naught of it to thee”

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2. St. Teresa of Jesus wrote to her daughters: “To be?glad when your sisters’ virtues are praised is a great thing and when we see a fault in someone, we should be as sorry about it as if it were our own and try to conceal it from others”. ?This is the true attitude of a delicate fraternal charity. Besides, it is what we do spontaneously for our friends. Why should we not try to do it for every one since charity is universal. But, very often. the devil, the enemy of charity, stirs up conflicts within us and tries to make us?do the opposite. Even the saints have had temptations of?this kind; but whereas we succumb to them so frequently, they reacted courageously and made of them an opportunity to practice charity more zealously. This was the strategy which St. Therese of the Child Jesus used : “Should the devil bring before me the defects of a sister, I hasten to look for her virtues and good motives. I call to mind tat though I may have seen her fall once, she may have gained many victories over herself which in her humility she coceals and also that what appears to be a fault may very well, owing to the good intention that prompted it, be an an act of virtue”.

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If we feel a natural aversion toward any person, or if a certain person has done us some wrong, we see that person’s defects far more easily than we see his virtues; the former are magnified in our eyes and the latter minimized. It will also be easy for us to put a wrong interpretation on whatever he says or does. This is the time to be especially watchful to fight against the malevolent thoughts that spontaneously come into our mind, and not to permit ourselves to speak of?them to others. We should oppose these?thoughts by positive acts of charity: praying particularly for this?person, seizing every possible opportunity to render him service, and acting in an especially kind and friendly mnner toward him. The mantle of charity must be wide enough to cover not only the faults of our friends, but even that of our enemies, and those who annoy us. Charity makes no distinction of persons, but has equal good will for all because it sees and loves only God in all.

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COLLOQUY

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If I wish to know whether I possess true charity, 1 must examine myself and see if when I speak about any of my neighbors, if?I am more ready to mention his virtues than his faults. Even if I do not speak ill of him, it is very wrong, nevertheless, to listen to detraction, because by remaining silent, I show my approval of what I hear. There?fore, 0 my God, whenever anyone comes to tell me some fault of another, I will not listen, but will tell him to pray for that person, and for me-that I may correct my own faults. Then it will be easier to speak about it to the guilty person than to talk about it to others; otherwise, instead of remedying it, I would be committing many more faults, and graver ones than those of the person spoken about.

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If my eye were pure, 0 Lord, I would very easily see I ought to practice love toward my neighbor.? If I knew that both of us had the same fault, I should go to him and ask his advice as to how I could correct it. In order to advise correctly, he would think about this fault and would soon know that he too was guilty of it, and in this way we should both? learn how to correct it. One whose eye is pure knows how to deal lovingly with his neighbor.??????????????? (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).?

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Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene OCD? (Divine Intimacy)


Author Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

Our Lady found this unworthy lukewarm person and obtained for her the grace to enter the Third Order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. May this person spend all eternity in showing her gratitude.

More posts by Sr. JosephMary f.t.i.

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