BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 4: OF PRUDENCE IN WHAT WE DO
WE must not trust every word or impulse, but cautiously and patiently weigh the matter according to God.
Alas! oftentimes is evil more readily believed and spoken of another than good; so weak are we.
But perfect men do not easily believe every tale-teller; for they know human weakness is prone to evil, and very apt to slip in speech.
2. It is great wisdom not to be rash in what is to be done, and not to persist obstinately in our own opinions.
It is a part of this wisdom, also, not to believe everything men say, nor straightway to pour into the ears of others what we have heard or believed.
Take counsel of a wise and conscientious man, and seek rather to be instructed by one that is better, then to follow thine own inventions.
A good life maketh a man wise according to God, and giveth great experience. The more humble anyone is in heart, and the more in subjection to God, so much the wiser will he be in all things, and the more at peace.
NOTHING is more opposite to charity, or more fatal to salvation, than the evil reports we make of one another, whether they be true or false; because they irritate the mind, disorder the heart, foment divisions, and embitter hatreds, and because we cannot obtain God's pardon for them, unless we resolve, in our confessions, to repair the evil we have done and to reconcile those we may have set at variance. We should, therefore, neither spread evil reports of others, nor listen to them and if we do hear anything against our neighbor we should be careful not to repeat it.
GRANT, O my Savior, that I may observe, with the greatest care, Thy precept of charity towards my neighbor, to love him as Thou hast loved us, since this is absolutely necessary for salvation. Give me also that tenderness of charity which may prevent me from wounding it in anyway; for Thou hast said that to offend our neighbor is to wound the apple of Thine eye. Grant, therefore, that I may avoid Thy displeasure by not incurring the displeasure of my neighbor. Amen.