ACKNOWLEDGING HIS LIFELONG STRUGGLE WITH BEING SHORT-TEMPERED WITH OTHERS WHEN HE IS TIRED

My blood is so excited that I feel doubly brusque, which often makes me fail in charity, etc.
I do not possess my soul in peace. The least obstacle, the least opposition provokes me. I repulse, in all too human a manner, opposition that I should overcome and conquer by patience alone.

Retreat Notes, July-August 1816, O.W. XV n 139

The community of missionaries must have suffered from his outbursts, because in his letter to them from the place where he is resting he wrote:

Since you so wish, I will replenish my health. I would also wish to store up virtue so as no longer to be a subject of scandal in your midst; but the second undertaking is not as easy as the first. I have no great hope of succeeding therein; pray then to the good God to give you grace to enable you to endure me.

Letter addressed to “our dear brothers, the missionaries at Aix”,
July 1816, O.W. VI n 12

This prayer for others to be able to put up with his roughness must have been repeated very often during his long life when tiredness and worry made him short-tempered! It was his struggle right up to the end of his life.

This is the reason, perhaps, as well as because of my natural brusqueness, for those interior movements of impatience that are often evident externally and scandalize those who witness them.
So I will work as well on this lovely virtue of meekness. I will encourage myself with the thought that I did make some progress in it; but as occasions became more frequent and more difficult, I have reverted practically to my natural state. Let’s hope that with the help of grace I will be more fortunate in the future.

Retreat Notes, July-August 1816, O.W. XV n 139

 

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