From Pope St. Pius X’s “E Supremi”

July 9, 2010

An amazing passage on charity and gentleness in teaching.

“… it is not true that the progress of knowledge extinguishes the faith; rather is it ignorance, and the more ignorance prevails the greater is the havoc wrought by incredulity.  And this is why Christ commanded the Apostles: “Going forth teach all nations” (St. Matthew xxviii. 19).

“But in order that the desired fruit may be derived from this apostolate and this zeal for teaching, and that Christ may be formed in all, be it remembered, Venerable Brethren, that no means is more efficacious than charity.  “For the Lord is not in the earthquake” (III Kings xix. 11) — it is vain to hope to attract souls to God by a bitter zeal.  On the contrary, harm is more often done than good by taunting men harshly with their faults, and reproving their vices with asperity.  True the Apostle exhorted Timothy: “Accuse, beseech, rebuke,” but he took care to add: “with all patience” (II Timothy iv. 2).  Jesus has certainly left us examples of this.  “Come to me,” we find Him saying, “come to me all ye that labor and are burdened and I will refresh you” (St. Matthew xi. 28).  And by those that labor and are burdened He meant only those who are slaves of sin and error.  What gentleness was that shown by the Divine Master!  What tenderness, what compassion towards all kinds of misery!  Isaias has marvelously described His heart in the words: “I will set my spirit upon him; he shall not contend, nor cry out; the bruised reed he will not break, he will not extinguish the smoking flax” (Isaias xlii. 1-3).  This charity, “patient and kind” (I Corinthians xiii. 4), will extend itself also to those who are hostile to us and persecute us.  “We are reviled,” thus did St. Paul protest, “and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it; we are blasphemed and we entreat” (I Corinthians iv. 12-13).  They perhaps seem to be worse than they really are.  Their associations with others, prejudice, the counsel, advice and example of others, and finally an ill-advised shame have dragged them to the side of the impious; but their wills are not so depraved as they themselves would seek to make people believe.  Who will prevent us from hoping that the flame of Christian charity may dispel the darkness from their minds and bring to them light and the peace of God?  It may be that the fruit of our labors may be slow in coming, but charity wearies not with waiting, knowing that God prepares His rewards not for the results of toil but for the good will shown in it.”

Pope St. Pius X, E Supremi Apostolatus (1903), 12-13.


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