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Daily Meditations

Are you Over-Bearing? Knowing How to Teach.

September 5th, 2019

Are You Over-Bearing?

 The Superior must not reprove with anger. An angry or violent reproof does not set the brother free from his fault but it throws the Superior into a state of sin. That is why the Bible says: ‘The Lord’s servant must be … forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness.’ [2 Tim. 2:24-25]

We ought not to be inflamed with anger when others have offended us, nor should we show ourselves too indulgent when they have offended someone else. It is in the second case that our displeasure should be more evident.

By such behaviour we avoid the suspicion that we are acting from self-love, and we make it clear – by the different way we treat each of them – that our aim is not to be furiously angry with the sinner but to root out his sin, should he have offended us or someone else.

If we are more indignant where we ourselves are concerned than when others are, the conclusion is obvious. It is not on God’s account that we are angry, nor are we sorry for the danger in which the sinner has placed himself. The motive of our excitement is nothing but our self-love and our desire to dominate.

Basil the Great

The Greater Rules, 50 (PG31, 1040)

 

 

Knowing how to Teach

 Jerome said:

‘To teach others one must have learned over a long time the art of correct behaviour.

‘Only stupid people teach what they do not themselves know.

‘The pastor should also be master. In the Church, however saintly they may be, none should take the title of pastor unless they are capable of ruling those they feed.

‘An effective orator reaches many listeners with few words.

‘They lose the authority to teach if they undo their words by their deeds.’

Gregory said:

‘Let no one take on him the office of preacher unless he loves his hearers.’

Augustine said:

‘We should watch the hand of the actor, not the mouth of the speaker.’

Defensor Grammaticus

Book of Sparkling Sayings, 32 (SC77, pp.393ff.)

~ Thomas Spidlik, Drinking from the Hidden Fountain, A Patristic Breviary: Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World