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How to bear the faults of others, according to the ‘The Imitation of Christ’

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A short guide on how to bear (with grace) the weaknesses of others.

After the Bible, the spiritual classic entitled The Imitation of Christ, according to one publisher, has “without exaggeration been called the most widely read work of devotion ever written.” It was written by a German priest named Thomas à Kempis  in the 15th century and since its first publication “has appeared in nearly two thousand editions and translations.”

It was a major influence in the lives of countless saints, such as St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Thomas More.

Here are six quotes from the The Imitation of Christ on how to bear the faults of others.

Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure.

If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves … it is clear how seldom we think of others as we do of ourselves.

Until God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus—perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account.

[U]nder such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly.

If, after being admonished once or twice, a person does not amend, do not argue with him but commit the whole matter to God that His will and honor may be furthered in all His servants, for God knows well how to turn evil to good.

[W]e must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man’s virtue is best revealed in time of adversity—adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.

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