It is a good sign of spiritual health to welcome correction

March 12, 2022 • 2 min

#Obedience #Humility

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 219
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley


Our Blessed Father, who did not like people to be too introspective and self-tormenting, said that they should, however, walk as it is written of the Maccabees, Caute et ordinate; [1 Mach. vi. 4.] that is, with circumspection and order, or, to use a common expression, “bridle in hand.” And one of the best proofs of our advancement in virtue is, he said, a love of correction and reproof; for it is a sign of a good digestion easily to assimilate tough and coarse food. In the same way it is a mark of spiritual health and inward vigour to be able to say with the Psalmist, The just man shall correct me in mercy and shall reprove me. [Psalm cxi. 5.]

It is a great proof of our hating vice, and of the faults which we commit, proceeding rather from inadvertence and frailty, than from malice and deliberate intention, that we welcome the warnings which make us think on our ways, and turn back our feet (that is to say, our affections) into the testimonies of God, by which is meant the divine law.

An old philosopher said that to want to get well is part of the sick man’s cure. The desire to keep well is a sign of health. He who loves correction necessarily desires the virtue contrary to the fault for which he is reproved, and therefore profits by the warnings given him to escape the vice from which his fault proceeded.

A sick person who is really anxious to recover his health takes without hesitation the remedies prescribed by the physician, however sharp, bitter, and painful they may be. He who aims at perfection, which is the full health, and true holiness of the soul, finds nothing difficult that helps him to arrive at that end. Justice and judgment, that is to say correction, establish in him the seat of perfect wisdom. In a word, better are the wounds of a friend (like those of a surgeon who probes only to heal) than the deceitful kisses of a flatterer, an enemy. [Prov. xxvii. 6.]

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