"How could we possibly think badly of others?"

You will only be good if you know how to see the good points and the virtues of the others. That is why when you have to correct, you should do so with charity, at the opportune moment, without humiliating. And being ready yourself to learn and to improve in the very faults you are correcting. (The Forge, 455)

One of its first expressions is to initiate the soul into the ways of humility. When we sincerely see ourselves as nothing; when we understand that, without God’s help, the weakest and most puny of creatures would be better than we are; when we see we are capable of every kind of error and every kind of abomination; when we realize we are sinners, even though we are earnestly struggling to turn our back on our many infidelities, how could we possibly think badly of others? Or how could we harbour fanaticism, intolerance or haughtiness in our hearts?

Humility leads us as it were by the hand to treat our neighbour in the best way possible, that is, being understanding towards everyone, living at peace with everyone, forgiving everyone; never creating divisions or barriers; and behaving — always! — as instruments that foster unity. Not in vain is there in the depths of man’s being a strong longing for peace, for union with his fellow man, for a mutual respect for personal rights, so strong that it seeks to transform human relations into fraternity. This longing reflects something which is most deeply imprinted upon our human condition: since we are all children of God, our fraternity is not a cliché or an empty dream; it beckons as a goal which, though difficult, is really ours to achieve...

In prayer, with God’s grace, pride can be transformed into humility. Then, true joy wells up in our heart, even though we feel that the wings of our soul are still clogged with the mud, the clay of our wretchedness which is now beginning to dry out. If we practice mortification the mud will fall off, allowing us to soar very high, because the wind of God’s mercy will be blowing in our favour. (Friends of God, 233 and 249)

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