“On Cordiality”

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St. Francis de Sales:

The bearing with the imperfections of our neighbor is one of the principal points of this love: Our Lord, Who had a heart so gentle towards us and loved us so dearly, showed this to us on the Cross; us, I say, and even those who caused His death, and were in the act of the most enormous sin that man could ever commit. For the sin that the Jews committed was a monster of wickedness: and nevertheless, our sweet Savior had thought of love for them, giving us an example quite beyond imagination , in excusing those who were crucifying and insulting Him with a most barbarous rage; and seeking out inventions to obtain from His Father their pardon even in the act of sin and injury. O how miserable we are, we worldly people! For hardly can we forget an injury that has been done to us, long after we received it, Yet he who presents his neighbor with the benediction of sweetness is the most perfect imitator of Our Lord.

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2 thoughts on ““On Cordiality”

  1. Working with the general public in a retail call center I speak to such an array of personalities, from the sweetest and most unassuming to the most aggressive and sometimes inappropriate. Without my Faith in Jesus, Our Scourged Lord, spit upon beaten, degraded, humiliated and Crucified always before my eyes (literally, I have a mini “altar” set up on my desk, along with images of my Patron Saints and Our Lady of Perpetual Help) I would never be able to succeed in that job. One of the things that I ve come to see most about myself is my utter lack of humility and charity. And knowing this, eyes on Our Scourged Lord and Crucifix, enables me to take that deep breath and ‘reframe’ the conversation to find the actual root of the problem and get it solved to the customer’s satisfaction. As St Francis says, excusing those who are insulting and humiliating or attacking, and then coming up with ways, when possible, to make them happy is a way of imitating Our Lord in my work-a-day life. In a sermon, Fr Greenwell pointed out that we should all be so lucky to have someone in our lives willing to tell us the truth. Sometimes that’s necessary to do in these situations, explaining to someone that it is always appropriate to express dissatisfaction, disappointment and even anger, but it is never appropriate to curse or to speak disrespectfully. I’ve had some pretty volatile customers thank me for my frankness and help. I remind them that they have paid for our services and that’s why our department exists– to ensure they receive those services to their own satisfaction and that it’s our pleasure to be there for them. Without coming to an understanding of my own faults, shortcomings and disorders of my own soul, I’m not quite sure I could do that job.

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