Friday, February 21, 2014

On Fraternal Correction - How to give it and receive it...

Sometimes when we see or hear something that we do not like in the Church, we can react sometimes in anger and we have to be careful about this and how we can so easily humiliate or slander others.  I see sadly on a particular Catholic Youtube channel, where Priests and Bishops are openly named and criticised quite harshly by the host and I think we need to be careful about listening to Catholic media like this.  I am certainly not without fault myself in this area of being critical, so it is something I need to watch carefully and learn more about.  

Fraternal Correction is very important and necessary in the Church and we can learn from the Saints and ultimately from Christ, how to do it properly and in Love.  I share this section from the wisdom of St.Josemaria Escriva here and the full document on Fraternal Correction is linked below.  

Paragraph below just one section from the document (linked below)

'Fraternal Correction - A Help along the Path to Holiness' by St. Josemaria Escriva

6. How to give fraternal correction, and how to receive it

Jesus Christ’s specific recommendations, and other instructions on charity in the Gospel, show how fraternal correction should be practiced: with supernatural outlook, humility, considerateness and affection.

Because it is an admonishment with a supernatural purpose – the holiness of the person corrected – the person giving the correction should discern in the presence of God whether the correction is opportune, and the most prudent way to give it (the best time, the appropriate words, etc.) to avoid humiliating the person being corrected. Asking the Holy Spirit for light, and praying for the person we are going to correct, helps foster the supernatural atmosphere that is necessary for the correction to be effective.

Before giving the correction we should also consider humbly, in God’s presence, our own unworthiness, and should examine our conscience on the fault that is the subject of the correction. St Augustine recommends this examination of conscience because we often find it easy to notice in other people the very defects we suffer from ourselves. “When we have to reprimand others, let us first think whether we have committed that fault; and if we have not committed it, let us consider the fact that we are human beings and we could have committed it. Or whether we have been guilty of it in the past, even though not at present. And then let us be mindful of our shared weakness, so that mercy, and not animosity, precedes the correction we give.”

Considerateness and affection are the distinguishing marks of Christian charity and also, therefore, of the practice of fraternal correction. To ensure that this admonition is the expression of genuine charity, it is important to ask ourselves before giving it: “How would Jesus act towards this person in this situation?” Then it will be easier to see that Jesus would correct not only promptly and frankly, but also kindly, with understanding and respect. Hence St Josemaria teaches: “When you have to make a fraternal correction, do it with great kindness – great charity! – in what you say and in the way you say it, for at that moment you are God’s instrument.”28 A specific note of kindness is to give the admonishment in private with the person concerned, and to avoid anything in the way of comments or jokes that might detract from the supernatural tone of the correction.

Above taken from document:  Fraternal Correction - St. Josemaria Escriva

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