“You are so judgmental!” That is one way to respond to someone offering some fraternal correction. Here’s another: “Who do you think you are?” Or how about, “You are you to admonish me, when….?” Not one of our more spiritual moments. Yet fraternal correction is listed among the spiritual works of Mercy (CCC 2247). St. Thomas Aquinas lists it in the Summa as a work of Charity: “fraternal correction properly so called, is directed to the amendment of the sinner. Now to do away with anyone’s evil is the same as to procure his good: and to procure a person’s good is an act of charity, whereby we wish and do our friend well” (II, IIae, 33.1).
I guess when we are on the receiving end of correction, our initial and all too human response gets in the way. And maybe we can learn from our own reactions, so that when we provide such correction to another if it is to be an act of charity, we would be well served to consider the ways in which we can be charitable in offering the admonishment.
Admonition Twenty-Two: Correction
1 Blessed is the servant who endures discipline, accusation, and reprimand from another as patiently as he would from himself.
2 Blessed is the servant who, after being reprimanded, agrees courteously, submits respectfully, admits humbly, and makes amends willingly.
3 Blessed is the servant who is not quick to excuse himself, and endures with humility, shame and reprimand for a sin, when he did not commit the fault.