Fraternal Correction (A Few Words for Wednesday)

A poem by Kenhelm Digby Best, priest of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, London, 1900.

 Fraternal Correction

Ah! there are untamed spirits, rough and rude,
Rugged as unwrought iron, unsubdued
Till fire hath filled it with a glowing heat—
And love alone with such souls can compete.
But, soon as love hath made these souls less like
Their wretched self, some deem it time to strike—
Unskilful smiths! they only beat the mass
Into its own cold hardness—while, alas!
Had they loved on, and not been violent,
How easily the stubborn had been bent!
Reproof that irritates, and frequent test
Make untried tempers brittle at the best—
Morose and murmuring, instead of gay,
For perseverance less and less they pray—
Till, finally, it needs but one blow more
To strew the shivered fragments on the floor.

More poems like this one are available on the YIMCatholic Bookshelf.

 

 

  • http://www.themarcominute.blogspot.com Marco

    Thanks for posting this humorous but true poem about fraternal correction. I am reminded of these words of St. Josemaria Escriva,
    “What conversations! What vulgarity and what dirt! And you have to associate with them, in the office, in the university, in the operating-theatre…, in the world.
    Ask them if they wouldn’t mind stopping, and they laugh at you. Look annoyed, and they get worse. Leave them, and they continue.
    This is the solution: first pray for them, and offer up some sacrifice; then face them like a man and make use of the ‘strong language apostolate’. — The next time we meet I’ll tell you — in a whisper — a few useful words.” from The Way (850)

  • Joseph H. M. Ortiz

    Speaking of St. Philip Neri himself, I understand he could be a wonderfully vivacious personality. A preacher once indicated in my hearing that Philip once fraternaly corrected an overly unsmiling associate by standing on his head until the associate broke out laughing. (I wonder if that incident is what your fellow blogger Fr. Dwight Longenecker is alluding to in his blog’s title.)

    • Frank Weathers

      He gives great advice like this,

      It is very useful for those who minister the Word of God, or give themselves up to prayer, to read the works of authors whose names begin with S., such as Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard, etc.


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