I've been reading a little from St Francois De Sales and I really like the two following paragraphs.
"Everything St. Francois said, even the most casual word, to all his pupils, was aimed, by his extremely subtle approach, at eliminating all traces of fear and anguish. That is why gentleness was his keynote. Scarcely had he spoken to anyone before he knew their temperament and disposition and natural traits. He also had the ability to conform all that he had to say to the capacity and capability of the listener so that everybody, from a simple maid to a Jesuit theologian, from an unassuming widow to an argumentative Calvinist, could understand him. He served one kind of meat to the strong and another to the weak; he used one language for the extrovert, and another to the introvert........
Is not the real challenge of the spiritual guide to know the place where the person he is guiding happens to be - physically, intellectually and spiritually? So many spiritual directors write or speak from a point of view which is rigidly fixed on a particular path which they themselves have traveled. Even though they may be well advanced they frequently speak in light of some condition which they alone have experienced and often without realizing that others are not at their stage, and perhaps not even meant to experience what they have experienced, or might not ever be destined to travel the same way".
I just love the last paragraph! So often I have heard people speak without taking time to listen to the hearer, almost as though they have a one size fits all gospel. Often I recall Jesus asking a question to people that inquired of Him; "do you want to be healed?", "what does the scripture say," are just examples of Christ seeking the underlying issues. We have the gospel presented to us by four authors, each to a different audience; Jews, Romans, Greeks, Gentiles. I think this is further example of changing methods to differing people.
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