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Saints' Discussion Forums  |  Forums  |  Book Study  |  Topic: Backbiting, and Evil Tongues 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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« on: May 31, 2017, 12:33:55 AM »

There was once a holy father who was very experienced in the ways of this world, and who had observed that a man could not live here in any way whatsoever and hinder from slandering him those who wished to do so, and he said therefore to, one of his young monks :

Son, come with me, and bring with thee our little ass. The young monk obeyed and brought the ass, and he mounted it, and the youth followed after the holy father on foot, and as they passed amongst the people, there was in one place much mire and deep, and one man crieth out and saith: What! look there at him, how cruel is that wretched monk, who permitteth the other one to go on foot through so much mud, while he himself doth ride.

When he heard these words at once he got down, and when he had got down he made the young man to mount, and going on a little farther, he went along urging the ass forward through this mud. And another man saith: Ho! see the strange behaviour of that man, who hath a beast and is old, and goeth on foot, and permitteth the youth to ride, who would not consider fatigue or the mud. Methinketh this is madness in him! And moreover they might both ride on the ass if they wished and it would be far better so.

The holy father then approacheth the ass, and he also mounteth. And as they were going forward in this way, there was a man who said : How now ! look at those two who have one ass and both are mounted on it. I think they care naught for the little ass, which it would not be a great marvel to see fall down dead.

Hearing this also the holy father at once got down, and made the youth get down, and they both go on foot behind it, calling out : g ee up! and by little and little they went forward on their way, and another man saith : see what madness this is in these two, who have an ass, and walk through mud so deep.

The holy father having perceived that no man can live in any manner of way so that people murmur not against him, said to the young monk: come away, let us go home.

And when they were in the cell the holy father said, Come here, my Son; hast thou paid heed to the fable of the ass ? Saith the young monk: Of what? hast thou not perceived that in whatsoever way we travelled ill was said of us? If I rode and thou went on foot, ill was said of it, and it was said that because thou wert a youth I should have put thee up on the ass. I got down and put thee up there, and another spoke ill of this also, thou being mounted, and said that I who was old ought to mount the beast, and that thou who wert a young man oughtest to go on foot. Then again we both mounted, and thou knowest that they said ill also of this, and that we were cruel to the ass, because of this burden, which was too heavy. Then moreover we both dismounted, and thou knowest that ill was said also of this, and that it was madness in us to go on foot since we had an ass. And therefore, my son lay up in thy mind this which I shall say to thee :

know that he who remaineth in the world performing as much good as he is able, and exerting himself to do as much as in him lies, cannot do so that evil shall not be said of him. And therefore, my son, heed it not and attend not to it, and have no desire to be of it; for whoever remaineth therein in any manner whatsoever doth always lose his soul, and from it there cometh forth naught else than sin; and therefore despise it, and do good ever. And let who will say either the evil or the good that they do say.

- from the Sermons of St. Bernardine of Siena
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'Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra. . . Fulcite me floribus. (The flowers appear on the earth. . . stay me up with flowers. Sg 2:12,5)
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