One day I was having a particularly hard day dealing with my children. Maybe you can relate...day after day of children who want to argue with you about everything and don't do what it is you tell them to do. Well, I had had enough so I left and went to spend some time in adoration. When I got there, there was a book called "Before the Altar". This book was written in 1903 and 04 by Concepcion Cabrera De Armida. Concepcion was a mystic and a mother of nine. She was born in 1862 in Mexico. She was declared venerable by Pope John Paul II in 1999.
I sat down with the book and decided to open it up and see what the Lord might be trying to tell me. The first entry I opened to was this, which I immediately copied down and would like to share with you today. Maybe it will help someone else who is struggling, too. Our Lord said to Concepcion:
"I will explain to you the way to win souls...I never exaggerated the importance of those faults which were not due to malice, but usually to inexperience or to inculpable ignorance. I studied the different characters and adapted myself to them, leaving the grace of the Holy Spirit to act in them more or less slowly. I won souls more easily by gentleness of speech than by bitter reproaches. He sees his faults much better who considers the beauties of virtue set before his eyes, rather than the ugliness of the defects alleged of him. It is in this way that the wounds of the soul are healed by meekness and patience.
Never show annoyance to those under your direction. It would be a serious error to insist upon all being equally perfect. Shut your eyes to the weaknesses of the beginner. Come to his assistance and fortify him with good advice.
Never find fault with your brother in public and never take advantage of his kindness. Remember that people are won over more by honey than by vinegar. Never lay the blame for anything on your neighbor, but rather on yourself.
Derive from your prayers and meditations the gentleness which will make your heart like unto mine."
Needless to say, I took this all to heart and try to reread it quite frequently as it is full of things that I definitely need to remember. Concepcion then added her own prayer back to the Lord which was this:
"How much I would love to imitate you, O Jesus, and stop giving rude answers or showing bitterness in my speech, and giving up any tone of superiority in talking to others."
A prayer that I can definitely call my own!