Virtues to practice when we are insulted or accused

February 13, 2022 • 3 min

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 172
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley


He used to say that a harvest of virtues could be gathered in from a crop of affronts and injuries, because they offer us in abundance opportunities of making such acts as the following:

  1. Of justice: for who is there that has not sinned and consequently has not deserved punishment? Has anyone offended you? Well, think how often you have offended God! Surely, therefore, it is meet that creatures, the instruments of His justice, should punish you.

  2. But perhaps you were justly accused? Well, if so, simply acknowledge your fault, asking pardon of God as well as of men, and be grateful to those who have accused you, even though they have done it in such a manner as to add unnecessary bitterness to your suffering. Remember that medicines are none the less salutary for being nauseous.

  3. But may-be you were accused falsely? If so, calmly and quietly, but without hesitation, bear witness to the truth. We owe this to our neighbours, who might, if we were silent, believe the charge brought against us, and thus be greatly disedified.

  4. Yet, if, after this, people persist in blaming you, abandon any further defence of yourself, and conquer by silence, modesty, and patience.

  5. Prudence has its own part to play in the conflict; for there is no better way of dealing with insults than by treating them with contempt. He who gives way to anger looks as if he acknowledged the truth of the accusation.

  6. Discretion, too, comes to the aid of prudence by counselling toleration.

  7. Courage in all its power and grandeur raises you above yourself.

  8. Temperance bridles your passions and curbs them into submission.

  9. Humility will make you love and value your humiliation.

  10. Faith will, as St. Paul says, stop the mouths of lions, and more than this, it will, he says, set before our eyes for our loving contemplation and imitation Jesus Christ Himself, overwhelmed with insults and calumnies, yet silent, unmoved, as one who hears not and is dumb.

  11. Hope will hold out before you an imperishable crown, the reward of your trials and sufferings which endure but for a moment.

  12. Charity, last of all, will come to you and abide with you—charity, patient and sweet, benign and yielding, believing all, hoping all, enduring all, ready and willing to suffer all.

The more we value our eternal salvation the more heartily shall we welcome suffering.

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