TO EXCUSE, SUSTAIN, AND PROTECT; IS THAT NOT WHAT JESUS WOULD DO IN YOUR PLACE?
What a useful and delightful occupation!
What a useful and delightful occupation is this! Have you never seen the embarrassment and terror of a child, a servant, a brother, or a sister, who has committed a fault, and who is reprimanded rather sharply, perhaps even a little unjustly?
Let you, who possess a good heart, not leave them under the weight of reproach and shame.
Human justice always furnishes to prisoners accused of crimes a counsellor, whose office is to defend them.
Assume, then, this paternal – I would almost say divine – mission.
An almost divine mission
In order to mitigate a punishment, or to shorten a painful separation, can you not plead the frivolity due to the person’s age, the thoughtlessness of his character, the ardour of his temperament, the devotion displayed by him in the past, the affection so many times manifested, the efforts towards reformation made with such constancy, the heartfelt tears which you have seen him shed, the fear which prevented his submission?
Ask pardon for him, insist, promise, guarantee fidelity for the future; and, when you see that the person who had to reprimand is moved, go to the culprit, speak to him some of those affectionate words which certainly do not encourage his fault, but tend to renew his courage; bring before his mind the pain which he has caused those he loves, and lead him back repentant.
I know it is often necessary to scold and to punish, but those on whom God has imposed this duty are very much to be pitied.
Let you who have it not, excuse, sustain, and protect; is that not what Jesus would do in your place?
You require tact; your heart will give it to you. You require constancy; prayer will sustain you. You require courage – you who want it on almost all occasions; affection will strengthen you, and you will be astonished at the bravery which you will exhibit.
A father of a family once said: “If I wish to scold any one, I must do so in the absence of my daughter; she always finds excuses for others.”
Oh! if that could be said of you.
– From: Golden Grains, H. M. Gill and Son, Dublin, 1889