The money quote from Friday's adoration reading (the emphasis added is mine):
"How can you continue to be astonished at what your experience should have long since convinced you of? As long as we are upon this earth, even were we to live only with saints, we shall need patience in order to be tolerant of one another. It is good that this is so, in order that we may have more opportunities of practising those most meritorious of virtues--charity, humility and self renunciation. Let us, then, with a good grace, resign ourselves to this necessity; let us try to turn to advantage our neighbours's faults as well as our own by being indulgent towards the former and ridding ourselves quickly of the latter. This is the one means of preserving our peace of soul."
I loved the first part I emphasized--the idea that patience would be necessary for living in community with one another, even were we all saints. Because we are all different, we are by definition going to rub one another the wrong way sometimes. That part has nothing to do with saintliness or holiness. I'm quite sure that MANY people had to exercise patience with my dear St. Jerome while he was busy thundering his denunciations of various and assorted things. I can just see the women who followed him to the desert shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. "Yes, he's in one of *those* moods again today." But they knew he was holy. They saw his mission, his value, his worth.
So, I was thinking about patience and living with saints, only to be smacked between the eyes with the second part I highlighted. What? Indulgent of another's sins and hard on MYSELF? Hmmmm. The more I thought of it, the more I realized that this was exactly what St. Bernard said about dealing with someone else's sin: to put the best face on it as possible, first. To assume that it was done in a moment of weakness, fatigue or unknowing, second. And even if that failed at last to think: "Ah, but the temptation must have been very strong." Never, ever, ever, ever to assume the worst about someone, but always to be compassionate and forgiving.
We don't want to do that very much, do we? I'm not saying that there are not battles to be fought and issues to debate. But when we cross the line into not loving the other, into treating him as just an opponent to crush, then we aren't living out our call to holiness. We're not building the Kingdom.
This holiness thing is hard, isn't it?