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FATHER FABER ON KINDNESS
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Author:  Laudanum [ Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:45 pm ]
Post subject:  FATHER FABER ON KINDNESS

Excerpts from the book entitled, Kindness, Chapter III, Kind Words

...Why then are we ever anything else but kind in our words? There are some difficulties. This must be honestly admitted. In some respects a clever man is more likely to be kind than a man who is not clever, because his mind is wider, and takes in a broader range, and is more capable of looking at things from different points of view. But there are other respects in which it is harder for a clever man to be kind, especially in his words. He has a temptation, and it is one of those temptations which appear sometimes to border on the irresistible, to say clever things; and, somehow, clever things are hardly ever kind things. There is a drop either of acid or of bitter in them, and it seems as if that drop was exactly what genius had insinuated. I believe, if we were to make an honest resolution never to say a clever thing, we should advance much more rapidly on the road to heaven. Our Lord's words in the Gospels should be our models.

If we may reverently say it, when we consider of what a sententious and proverbial character His words were, it is remarkable how little of epigram or sharpness there is in them. Of course the words of the Eternal Word are all of them heavenly mysteries, each one with the light and seal of His divinity upon it. At the same time they are also examples to us. On the whole, to say clever things of others is hardly ever without sin. There is something in genius which is analogous to a sting. Its sharpness, its speed, its delicacy, its wantonness, its pain and its poison, genius has all these things as well as the sting...

...Weak and full of wants as we are ourselves, we must make up our minds, or rather take heart, to do some little good to this poor world while we are in it. Kind words are our chief implements for this work. A kind-worded man is a genial man; and geniality is power. Nothing sets wrong right so soon as geniality. There are a thousand things to be reformed, and no reform succeeds unless it be genial. No one was ever corrected by a sarcasm; crushed, perhaps, if the sarcasm was clever enough, but drawn nearer to God, never. Men want to advocate changes, it may be in politics, or in science, or in philosophy, or in literature, or perhaps in the working of the Church. They give lectures, they write books, they start reviews, they found schools to propagate their views, the coalesce in associations, they collect money, they move reforms in public meetings, and all to further their peculiar ideas. They are unsuccessful. From being unsuccessful themselves, they become unsympathetic with others. From this comes narrowness of mind; their very talents are deteriorated. The next step is to be snappish, then bitter, then eccentric, then rude. After that they abuse people for not taking their advice; and last of all, their impotence, like that of all angry prophets, ends in the shrillness of a scream. Why they scream is not so obvious. Perhaps for their own relief. It is the frenzy of the disregarded Sibyl.

All of this comes from not being genial. Without geniality no solid reform was ever made yet. But if there are a thousand things to reform in the world, there are tens of thousands of people to convert. Satire will not convert men. Hell threatened very kindly is more persuasive than a biting truth about a man's false position. The fact is, geniality is the best controversy. The genial man is the only successful man. Nothing can be done for God without geniality. More plans fail for want of that than the want of anything else. A genial man is both an apostle and an evangelist - an apostle because he brings men to Christ; an evangelist because he portrays Christ to men.

Author:  eliz carroll [ Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Dear Laudanum, Wow :!:

Author:  Tommy Short [ Tue Aug 29, 2006 7:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

What a fantastic post.

If I take away nothing else from this forum but my recent reading of this post, then I am a much richer man. Thanks

Tommy

Author:  Laudanum [ Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:43 pm ]
Post subject: 

Dear Eliz and Tommy,

You are welcome. Father Faber is wonderful, isn't he?

I am about to post another edifying excerpt on kind interpretations and against harsh judgments.

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