23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fraternal Correction
The command to love compels us to engage in the difficult task of fraternal correction. Fraternal correction is a loving “heads-up” given by one Christian to his/her neighbor to help that person become holy. The matter of correction could be a sin (mortal or venial) or even a fault that is harming that neighbor or those he/she comes in contact with.
God appoints each of us as “watchmen” to admonish, warn, teach and correct an erring brother or sister. If we fail to do so, we commit a sin of omission and God will hold us responsible for their destruction ( Ez 33:7-9). God’s purpose in warning and the Church’s and individual Christian’s duty to correct have one aim: turning a sinner from his/her otherwise impending destruction.
Four things that can make the spiritual work of mercy of “admonishing the sinner” or fraternal correction effective rather than destructive are: God’s will, humility, considerate, love.
Fraternal correction is only given because we are convinced God wants it for the sake of the person we are correcting and those affected by him/her. We pray for the Holy Spirit for guidance on how it should be made. The Gospel gives us some very practical advice how to do it.
The correction or gentle reprimand by way of exhortation is inspired by authentic love for a guilty person. The aim of talking with the offending brother/sister in one-on one way, or having to call two or three others to talk to the person, is not to “gang up” on the person. The words of the gospel are clear: the aim is to gain the brother/sister over, for the person’s spiritual progress, and for the common good of the ecclesial family (Mt. 18:15-20) 
Humility is necessary because we are sinners ourselves and fail in many ways. We could just as easily have the same fault and we certainly have other imperfections. Nevertheless, God wants us to help each other.
It is also necessary to be considerate, that is, to say what we have to say in the least hurtful way possible but without beating around the bush. It is so easy to humiliate another and no one likes being corrected much more being humiliated.
Finally, the correction should be given out of love and concern. The motive of the correction is the true good of the other (Rom 13:8-10).

 

 

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