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ADMONISHING THE MEEK AND THE CHOLERIC

The meek, when in authority, suffer from inactivity which is sister to laziness and, by their excessive gentleness, relax the severity of the life of the gospel. The choleric, when in authority, go into a frenzy and dissipate their subjects; they think, many times, that anger is zeal for good.

The meek must be more solicitous; the choleric must give up their turbulence. The meek must aim at zeal for righteousness; the choleric must add meekness to zeal.

He is not filled with the Holy Spirit who either, in the calmness of his meekness, abandons the fervour of his zeal or, being in the fervour of his zeal, loses the virtue of meekness.

When Paul admonished Timothy on how to preach, he said: "Reprove, entreat, rebuke. . .in ALL PATIENCE and doctrine."  When admonishing Titus, he said: ". . .rebuke with ALL AUTHORITY." Because Titus was too weak while Timothy had a little too much zeal, Paul inflamed the first with zeal and restrained the other with patience. To the first, he gave what was lacking; to the other, he removed what was excessive. Paul urged one with the spur; the other, he checked with a bridle. He watered one, the other, he pruned.

The choleric pursue even those who avoid them, stirring up occasions of strife, rejoicing in the trouble caused by contention. So, in correcting these, shun them when they are angry because they do not listen. But when they are calm, they listen and blush for having been patiently borne with. Turbulent minds, on perceiving that they were shown consideration, touched in their hearts because of being reasoned with calmly, settle down in their frenzy.

St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Care, Part III, Chapter 16

 

 


 

 

(01-15-04)

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