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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
26th July 2015

On How Fraternal Correction Ought To Be Given by Rev. Bishop George Hay

To give fraternal correction properly the following rules are to be observed.

There ought to be a real fault committed, or a real danger incurred: nothing is more disgusting than one who is always chiding and fretting upon every little trifling occasion; admonition from such people can have little or no effect even when a real cause occurs; all they say will be attributed more to their fretful humour and peevishness, than to reason and charity.

It must proceed from real charity, that is, from a real love for the person, and a desire for the good of his soul; for, as our Saviour says, "If he shall hear you, you shall gain your brother;" by this he clearly shows that the motive for correcting should only be with a view to gain him, who might be lost if not admonished. But if the correction arises either from any hatred to the person, or from anger or displeasure, it will always do mischief, and instead of brotherly correction, becomes a sinful vent of one's own passion. It will easily be perceived by the person corrected, whence the correction proceeds; if he be convinced it arises from love it cannot fail to be taken well; but if otherwise, it will only provoke and irritate.

It must be done with meekness and humility, which will always be the case when it flows from a real charity. "Brethren," says St. Paul, "if a man be overtaken in any fault, you who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted" (Gal. 6:1).

It must be in season, when the person is disposed to receive it; not when in a passion, or obstinately engaged in dispute, or when it exposes him to humiliation before others; because then there is little room to hope for success.

Whoever would correct others profitably, must never presume himself, but confide in God alone for success, and therefore be earnest in recommending the whole affair to God, who alone can touch the heart, and give a blessing to our words, "Consider the works of God, that no man can correct whom he despises" (Ecclus. 7:14).

Finally, their correction ought never to proceed from any other motive than real charity, zeal for the glory of God, and the good of the soul of the person corrected, and from a consciousness of its being their duty. Hence all anger and passion ought to be banished far from them, as well as from others, in exercising this duty; but it will be often necessary for them both to correct in public, and punish, where there are small hopes of amendment; for the sake of discipline, and for preventing the fall of others, and lest their silence should be interpreted an approbation.