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More virtues to practice when we are falsely spoken evil of

2 min • Digitized on February 10, 2022

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 165
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley

Should the tempest of evil speaking continue, silence steps to the front, and offers her calm resistance to the storm, following the teaching of the Royal Prophet, who says: And I became as a dumb man not opening his mouth. [Psalm xxxvii. 14.]

Answering is the oil which feeds the lamp of calumny, silence is the water which extinguishes it. If silence is unavailing, then patience reminds you that it is her turn to act, and, coming forward, shelters you with her impenetrable shield; patience, as Holy Scripture tells us, makes our work perfect.

If we be still assailed, we must call to our aid constancy, which is a kind of double-lined buckler of patience, impervious to the most violent thrusts.

But should evil tongues, growing yet sharper and keener, cut to the very quick, longanimity, which is an unfailing, undying patience, is ready to enter the lists, and eager to help us. For when persecution, instead of yielding to our patience, is only the more irritated thereby, like a fire which burns more fiercely in frosty weather, then is the time for us to practise the virtue of longanimity.

And last of all comes perseverance, which goes with us to the very end and without which the whole network of virtues would fall to pieces; for it is the end which crowns the work, and he who perseveres to the end shall be saved.

Indeed, who can say how many more virtues claim a place in this bright choir? Prudence, gentleness, modesty of speech, and many another, circle round their queen, holy charity, who is indeed the life and soul of them all.

Charity it is which bids us bless those who curse us, and pray for those who persecute us; and this same charity not unfrequently transforms our persecutors into protectors and changes slanderous tongues into trumpets to sound our praise.

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