'You can catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with ten barrels of vinegar.' (St. Francis de Sales)
I often think of this in connection with another quote from this Doctor of the Church.
'It is an act of of charity to cry out against the wolf when he is among the sheep" (St. Francis de Sales)
These two thoughts may not appear to have much to do with one another. But in my mind, they work together. In fact, I often strive to "navigate between them," as one might drive between two lines painted on a highway to keep vehicles moving safely.
As one of Our Lord's sheep, I have seen wolves come amongst us, oh - so many times. In saying this, I'm not thinking of people, but of ideas and ungodly "values" that creep in, usually in sheeps' clothing. They enter in the name (very often) of freedom, tolerance, rights, prosperity, pleasure, modernization, fairness, justice for all. Not wanting to be unkind, we can let them prowl freely among our families and groups without our uttering so much as a whisper of protest. We don't want to rock boats, ruffle feathers, stir waters, or cause anyone to be uncomfortable. Besides, we don't want to appear, well... you know. Uncool. Behind the times. Uncharitable.
However, there are a couple of ways of sharing. We can lash out in anger, in sharp words that can sting and personally wound our "opponents"... in other words, we can dish out the vinegar. Or...
we can speak in honeyed tones. Not in fake ones, but in words and actions that carry a genuine kindness that enables our fellow sheep to hear. After all, ears tend to turn off at the sound of vinegar. The truth we're trying to communicate can pass by totally unheard if we allow frustration and anger to "vinegar-ize" what we say.
We all know there are wolves of ungodly values running rampant. I don't have to name them; we see them everywhere. They rob children of innocence, families of stability, societies of integrity, preborn babies of life, and individuals of eternity spent with God. The cost of silence could be staggering.
But we dare not speak without honey.
We dare not speak without love.
'I take in my hands the two rays that spring from Your merciful Heart; that is, the blood and the water; and I scatter them all over the globe so that each soul may receive Your mercy...' (St. Faustina)
This was first posted here in 2012. I share this slightly edited version as part of "It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday." Click this line to find gems from other Catholic bloggers.
© 2015 Nancy Shuman