Three Ways to Deal With Catholics Who Are Downright Mean
In an ideal world, our brothers and sisters in Christ are loving, supportive and their conversations center only around positive talk, laced with references to the Saints. When we speak to them, we leave feeling refreshed and ready to rush home to throw ourselves on our knees and worship God. When we need prayer, we can call them and they will readily set aside whatever task they are involved in at the moment and say a couple of Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s.
I don’t think I am putting myself out on a limb if I venture to say that these types of Catholics live and thrive in a world that has two moons.
Okay, so it’s not that bad, but it’s not that good either. What we do have are fallible, broken people who are doing their best to worship God in spite of flaws. But some of us are mean.
There. I said it.
Some of us are perfect angels when we kneel in front of the sacrament, but outside of the church edifice , we are downright mean. We all have some cruelty in our beings, but there are some who are pure sadists and derive great pleasure in saying harsh or catty words and then watching the reaction of the victim.
So how does one deal with constant mean attacks from other Catholics? As the old saying goes, “We can’t change others; We can only change ourselves.
Here are three ways to deal with other Catholics who aim to hurt us.
(Disclaimer: I am not advocating that anyone be a doormat. Sometimes it is better to pray for someone at a distance. However, if one MUST deal with a difficult person on a regular basis, here is how to make it easier.)
Go out of your way to do something nice for the person.
Often treating someone better than they treat you can cause them to realize how they have been treating you. Wouldn’t it be nice if that is the usual end result. Sometimes you can treat a person nicely and they develop even greater disdain for you and treat you worse. However, loving someone as God loves us, despite their faults works wonders in us.
We are blessed whenever we do good works that we do not want to do. By denying ourselves and crucifying our pride, we heap blessings upon our heads. Proverbs 3:34 reveals to us that “He shall scorn the sinners, but to the meek he will give grace”.
Pray a Novena for that person without them knowing it.
Resist the urge to piously say, “I’ll pray for you”. This is between you and God.
Through praying for the person, your feelings will automatically become less malevolent and more benevolent towards him or her. You will become more compassionate for that person and maybe begin to see him or her with spiritual eyes.
Offer up the hurt and insults you receive in union with Christ’s suffering on the cross
Christ suffered for us and if Christ suffered, who are we to not suffer in this life? Suffering is a tool that god uses to purify us. Jesus himself did not lack humiliation and insults pure cruelty. The Gospels tell us that some of the people said about Jesus “He has a demon”. Imagine an omnipotent God accused of being possessed by an inferior being — a creation!
My spiritual director once told me that anytime I am in situation where I feel slighted or rejected, look it as our Lord drawing me to be ever closer to him. He is extending his hand to us and saying, “Come a little closer my child. Let me hold you. I know just how you feel. I will be your mother, father, sister, brother, friend.
We should therefore welcome these opportunities to grow in sanctity. It is a challenge surely, especially for someone like me, who in my flesh, is quick to “put someone in his place”, but God has been dealing with me. God will give us the grace to deal with these difficult personalities, if we let him.