In the seminary, we maintain a beautiful culture of fraternal correction. Fraternal correction is like a two-edged sword – it benefits the receiver, since he is made aware of his shortcomings, and also the giver, since these are opportunities to be charitable to others.
In the Gospel, Jesus said: “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” We are invited by these words of Jesus not to lose sight of our own failings and shortcomings whenever we try to correct or give feedback to others for their shortcomings. The Gospel shows also another advantage of the practice of fraternal correction: for the giver to reflect about his own shortcomings in the light of the particular matter for correction that he provides. It is a good invitation for us to be always reflective with our actions.
Jesus’ words emphasize our duty as Christians to practice what we have learned in our faith and live out what we preach before expecting others to do the same. Our preaching about Jesus and the corrections we give should be supported by our own testimony.
I have met a lot of good people whose example and way of life preaches far louder than words could. I am inspired by their holy and virtuous lives. Reflecting on my own life, I am still far from being a good testimonial myself. I still easily lose my patience. I have a tendency to be selfish most of the time. I always follow what is more convenient. I am slow to sacrifice and show charity. I have a towering pride. Much effort has to be done and more graces to be received.
Nothing would be more beautiful and charitable than a fraternal correction than when it is seen in and is lived by the giver.
By: Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco
Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”