Be severe towards yourself, indulgent towards others. (St. Damien)
These words St. Damien meant as advice for his fellow priests, but they are wise words for anyone who claims Jesus as Lord. Just as Christ told us to remove the log from our own eye before we complain about the speck in our brother's (Matthew 7:3-5), so Fr. Damien meant we should look to ourselves before we give advice to another.
Human nature naturally puts up a wall of self defense when it comes to being criticized, but if we are the first to point a finger at ourselves it helps to put a little chink in that wall. When we recognize and admit to our own flaws it is much easier to be sympathetic with others when they fall. Would we have done the same? Or perhaps can we at least understand how they could have made that mistake?
Fr. Damien knew well his own faults and strove to be gentler with others because of them. It is a trait which we all should practice, and making a daily examination of conscience is a wonderful way to do just that. Each night, alone with God, make it a point to go over your day and see where you could have been a kinder and gentler you. Examine your own shortcomings in the light of God's love for you, and then start the new day determined to show that same love to others.
St. Damien of Molokai, pray for us!Â