I thought of that today.
This morning actually, while clearing snow. It's easy to say when one is rejoicing, but when one is sad or feeling embittered, it is more difficult. But only if you let it be.
St. Therese taught that if you already have those thoughts in your heart before you encounter difficult people, you are going to respond negatively - because your heart harbored ill thoughts beforehand. I probably didn't say that very well, but you know what I mean, "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."
I came across something yesterday about Pope Francis which contradicts all of his critics who claim he doesn't like priests. He loves them. He spent a great deal of time with his priests when he was Archbishop, I learned that after looking up Fr. Pepe, a priest the Pope is friends with, who works among the poor. I felt badly because I also came across a negative post of someone speculating whether or not these priests abused the poor they served. That became my impetus for meditating upon the maxim, "never think ill of anyone."
As we get close to Christmas, the joy is palpable - even amid sadness and suffering and difficulties - even when fully conscious of one's sins - Christ is there - standing, gazing at us through the lattice of all that distracts us, waiting for us to look, to see him there.
So let's stop thinking negatively of the pope, the president, the gays, priests and bishops, divorced and unmarried and whatever, the liberals or conservatives, and so on. Let's stop projecting or predicting this or that evil to come - as if we are meteorologists predicting severe storms. Let's quit denigrating others and their families and their simple existence, as if anyone different from us is fair game to mock and scorn and condemn and hate. Or at least give people a break during the holidays.
You can't keep Christmas well when you harbor uncharitable thoughts - even though you think you are doing so to save souls. Think how strange that sounds - sort of Jihadist, don't you agree?
Pray for joy, not vain joy in things or status or accomplishment or virtue - but that joy that is deep and pure and freeing - the joy of the Holy Spirit. Freedom of spirit.
Live and let live. Be holy and everything else will fall in place. Even if they kill you for it.