Daily Thought For September 12, 2019

St. Francis de Sales On Civility

In the fourth of his "Spiritual Exercises," Francis highlights the basic principles of religious civility that can be adopted in all 
affairs.  
I will never disdain meeting any person, no matter who they may be, nor will I show any sign of Wishing to avoid them, for this earns one the reputation of. being proud, haughty, unfeeling, arrogant, snobbish, ambitious, and manipulative .... Above all, I will be careful neither to criticise, nor to mock, nor to be sarcastic to, anyone. It is a sign of stupidity to make fun of those who have no reason to put up with such treatment. I will show great respect for all, and I will not be pretentious. I will speak little but well, so rather than boring my friends I will whet their appetite for further conversation at a later time. 

With either friends or acquaintances, I will be especially careful to observe this rule: Be friendly with all but familiar with few .... Therefore in my relationships I will be courteous and not overbearing, friendly and outgoing and not cool and reserved, gentle but not affected, compliant and not contradictory (unless reason requires it), sincere and not deceitful, because people want to have a true knowledge of those with whom they are dealing. (Spiritual Exercises, pp. 36-37) 

Speaking to the sisters of the Visitation, Francis explains the fundamental rationale for this approach to dealing with others, be they social acquaintances or personal friend~: 
It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially, for in such cases we give a better proof that we love through charity than in loving those who give us more consolation, than trouble. 

. . . It is not in our power to have as tender and sweet an affection for those whose tempers and dispositions are not in accordance with our own, as for others with whom we are in sympathy. But that is nothing; it remains that the love of charity must be universal, and the signs and manifestations of our friendship must be impartial, if we wish to be true servants of God. (Spiritual Conferences, pp. 62, 69)

from Praying with Francis de Sales by Thomas F. Dailey pp. 55-56

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