This article contains Biblical quotations only. Obey God and he will raise you to the heights of honour.
No revenge; leave vengeance to the Lord
Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.” (Pr 24:29, NIV)
Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. (Pr 20:22, NIV)
For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” (Heb 10:30, RSV)
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated… So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” (Heb 10:32–37, NIV)
Do good; and love
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thes 5:15 NIV)
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. (Lev 19: 18, NIV)
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also… Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Lk 6:27–29, 36, NIV)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse… If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:14, 18–21, NIV)
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. (Heb 12:14–15, NIV)
When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. (1 Cor 4:12–13, NAB)
Blessed and exalted
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. (1 Pet 3:8–14, NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. (Phil 2: 5–15, NIV)
In your life and in your relationships it is very important to recognize fools and those who proclaim themselves to be wise but are not. If you know how to deal with them you will have greater peace and sympathy.
Take a few moments to think about whether there are people in your family, among your kinfolks, co-workers, acquaintances or friends who behave like fools.
“Fools take no delight in understanding, but only in displaying what they think.” (Pr 18:2, NAB)
“The lips of fools walk into a fight.” (Pr 18:6, NAB)
“The mouth of the fool works its owner’s ruin, the lips of a fool are a snare for their owner’s life.” (Pr 18: 7, NJB)
“To retort without first listening is both foolish and embarrassing.” (Pr 18:13, NJB)
“It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Pr 20:3, NIV)
“As dogs return to their vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” (Pr 26:11, NAB)
“Whoever spreads slander is a fool.” (Pr 10:18, NAB)
How to distinguish the wise or prudent from fools
“Glory is the portion of the wise, all that fools inherit is contempt.” (Pr 3:35, NJB)
“The wise of heart takes orders, but a gabbling fool heads for ruin.” (Pr 10:8, NJB)
“The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.” (Pr 10:14, NIV)
“The way of fools is right in their own eyes, but those who listen to advice are the wise.” (Pr 12:15, NAB)
“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” (Pr 12:16, NIV)
“The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.” (Pr 12:23, NIV)
“All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.” (Pr 13:16, NIV)
“A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” (Pr 14:3, NIV)
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” (Pr 14:8, NIV)
“The wise person is cautious and turns from evil; the fool is reckless and gets embroiled. The quick-tempered make fools of themselves.” (Pr 14: 16-17, NAB)
“The crown of the wise is their wisdom, but folly is the garland of fools.” (Pr 14:24, RSV)
“The tongue of the wise pours out knowledge, but the mouth of fools spews folly.” (Pr 15:2, NAB)
“The heart of the wise seeks knowledge, a fool’s mouth feeds on folly.” (Pr 15:14, NJB)
“Wisdom is a fountain of life to him who has it, but folly is the chastisement of fools.” (Pr 16:22, RSV)
“A thorn branch in a drunkard’s hand, such is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” (Pr 26:9, NJB)
“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” (Pr 28:26, NIV)
“Fools give vent to all their anger; but the wise, biding their time, control it.” (Pr 29:11, NAB)
How not to handle a fool
“Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Pr 1:7, NIV)
“A single reprimand does more for a discerning person than a hundred lashes for a fool.” (Pr 17:10, NAB)
“Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.” (Pr 17:12, NIV)
“Do not speak in the hearing of fools, for they will despise the wisdom of your words.” (Pr 23:9, NAB)
“Wisdom is too high for a fool.” (Pr 24:7, RSV)
“Snow no more befits the summer, nor rain the harvest-time, than honours befit a fool.” (Pr 26:1, NJB)
“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” (Pr 27:22, NIV)
“If a wise person disputes with a fool, there is railing and ridicule but no resolution.” (Pr 29:9, NAB)
How to deal with fools
Heed Jesus’ warning: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt 5:21-22, RSV)
The book of Proverbs puts it this way: “Whoever mocks the poor reviles their Maker; whoever rejoices in their misfortune will not go unpunished.” (Pr 17:5, NAB) “The poor” are not just those who have few monetary and material possessions, but also those who are less gifted in psychological maturity and a sensible personality.
Here is what you can do. First, love them. Jesus commands: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12, NJB)
Second, pray for them. You cannot change the hearts of fools by arguments and exhortations, or by shaming and rebuking. It is only by the grace of God that fools can be transformed to abandon their sin of pride and the desire for self-aggrandizement.
Third, rather than fuming with anger while a fool around you rages on and on with endless complaints and jealous boasting, do as these proverbs tell you:
“Do not answer fools according to their folly, lest you too become like them.” (Pr 26:4, NAB)
“Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” (Pr 14:7, RSV)
“So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” (Eph 5: 1–2, NAB)
Think this way: even if I were the only person on earth who needed redemption, Jesus would have suffered and died for me. St. Paul wrote that the Son of God “has loved me and given himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20, NAB)
Don’t wait until Lent to pray the Way of the Cross. Come close to Jesus daily by spending a few short moments with him in a manner similar to the illustration below. Ask him to teach you what to think about him, what to learn from him, how you can be like him, in what way you are already following in his footsteps, how you have used his good example to deal with conflicts in your family, in the work place, with acquaintances, and with those who treat you as an enemy. Share with him your joys, your sorrows, your concerns of the day. Thank him.
It is true that this version does not carry with it any plenary indulgence from the Church. If you want, you can pray a version to which an indulgence is attached. How often you do that each year is up to you to count.
Every Catholic church has the fourteen Stations of the Cross displayed prominently on the walls. Why is this?
Jesus, at the time when you were condemned and sentenced to death, no Gospel had been compiled and no theological treatises had been written to expound on what you were doing. You faced your sacrifice silently, with no explanation to anyone. Never once did you fight back, or look for sympathy. You knew what you had to do, but no one else did.
Jesus, you were insulted, beaten, and made to shoulder the cross. The spectators regarded you as a disgraced failure. No matter what people thought, you persisted on your sacred mission, without telling your foes you were doing the greatest good for them. You bore no bitterness or hatred. You remained constantly meek and humble of heart. You cared not for praise.
Jesus, after an all-night ordeal of brutality and torment, you collapsed. You could have used this fall as an excuse to call off the rest of the undertaking; but you got up and pressed onward.
Jesus, your Mother prayed: “Father, our Son’s Passion is excruciatingly agonizing. Please have mercy on him and reduce the time of his suffering by giving the same suffering to me also.”
Jesus, you accepted help from a stranger. Even though he was only forced into giving you a hand, in return you inspired the evangelists to include in the Bible his name and those of his sons and his village. Lord, how much more will you reward those who do things for you voluntarily!
Jesus, you honoured Veronica by giving to her your personal image. Going against the current, and without the slightest concern for her own reputation and safety, she braved the wrath of the soldiers and the crowds. Forever after, whoever is devoted to you with selfless bravery will become more and more your true icon in heart and mind and soul.
Jesus, you were whipped and pushed, and fell a second time. You got back on our feet, not because you were coerced, but because of your immense love for me and your desire to save me.
Jesus, you always respected women, never taking advantage of them or preying on their sympathy and affection. Even in your own hour of need, you made sure to remind them to take care.
In the four gospels, I have seen how kindly you treated mothers, widows, little girls and women of all ages – sinners and the virtuous alike. You were always so thoughtful and considerate towards each one of them.
Jesus, you summoned up your last ounce of energy to complete your mission for my sake.
Jesus, you submitted yourself to humiliation on my behalf; that is why, time and time again, even when I could have been put me to shame, I wasn’t.
For your love does not apply solely to my life after death. Your love is concerned with every situation in my life now. Never should I live in darkness, with a shadow hanging over my head. When I surrender each difficulty into your hands, the light of your aid shines on all seemingly unsolvable problems.
Thank you, Lord.
Jesus, you endured the unbearable pains so that I do not have to suffer overly much. Lord, every time I ask, you deliver me from all tribulations – mental, physical and spiritual. You never fail me. Thank you.
Jesus, because of your agony and death on the cross I will not end up in Hell, nor will I have to stay in Purgatory for very long. Thank you.
Jesus, why did you create me? For Heaven, of course! Nothing less! Without consulting me, you fashioned me; was it for suffering or for disaster? Certainly not! You are God, what you do must be for good. It cannot be otherwise.
Thank you for creating me and redeeming me from my sins, keeping the door open for me to live in eternal happiness. Thank you for directing me back onto the right path every step of the way.
Jesus, with the help of your grace, I resolve not to sin against you anymore. I resolve to live in simplicity and humility, with complete trust in your unsurpassing kindness towards me.
Yes, it is good to pray with family and friends and parishioners, or in prayer groups, or at charismatic meetings and conferences… It can be very fruitful, and often a lot of fun, especially when accompanied by instrumental music and the raising of hands. Still, sometimes, do as Jesus did: pray alone in secret!
Near the beginning of his ministry in Capernaum, after teaching in a synagogue, Jesus drove out an unclean spirit from a man, and, on the same day cured Simon’s mother-in-law of a severe fever. That evening, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town gathered at the door, and he drove out many demons and healed many who had various diseases. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mk 1:35, NIV)
“In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” (Lk 6: 12-13, NAB) Only after this, when day came, did he call his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles.
As soon as Jesus finished feeding the five thousand by multiplying two fish and five loaves, he made his disciples get into the boat, and dismissed the crowds. “After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” (Mt 14:23, NAB)
After healing a leper, Jesus ordered him not to tell anyone. “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Lk 5:15-16, NIV)
Jesus teaches: “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Mt 6:5-8, NAB)
“Dear children, my real, living presence among you should make you happy because this is the great love of my Son. He is sending me among you so that, with a motherly love, I may grant you safety; that you may comprehend that pain and joy, suffering and love, make your soul live intensely; that I may call you anew to glorify the Heart of Jesus, the heart of faith, the Eucharist. From day to day through the centuries, my Son, alive, returns among you – He returns to you, though He has never left you. When one of you, my children, returns to Him, my motherly heart leaps with joy. Therefore, my children, return to the Eucharist, to my Son. The way to my Son is difficult, full of renunciations, but at the end, there is always the light. I understand your pains and sufferings, and with motherly love I wipe your tears. Trust in my Son, because He will do for you what you would not even know how to ask for. You, my children, you should be concerned only for your soul, because it is the only thing on earth that belongs to you. You will bring it, dirty or clean, before the Heavenly Father. Remember, faith in the love of my Son will always be rewarded. I implore you, in a special way, to pray for those whom my Son called to live according to Him and to love their flock. Thank you.”