When the pioneer Marists were asked to preach renewal missions in the mountain parishes of the Bugey, neglected through long years after the French Revolution, many parishioners were in irregular and difficult situations after their turbulent recent years.
Fr Colin urged his confreres to approach their ministry with gentleness and compassion.
These are the directions he gave them....
1 Show kindness to sinners who come to you in the confessional. Do not rebuff them or appear surprised by their sins, however great they are.
2 Never say, 'I can't see you; I can't absolve you.' If people come to you, that's a sign that they need something; that's the beginning of goodwill.
3 Have a great knowledge of the human heart, and find the key to the human heart. You must win people's esteem, and their heart, in order to win them over.
4 Listen to people quietly and with kindness.
5 Follow all those opinions which give the greatest play to the mercy of God, without however falling into a laxist theology.
6 In the confessional, follow those principles: 'All for souls' and 'Salvation before law'.
7 Do not frighten people by too severe a sermon. They are not always strong enough to take it.
8 In your preaching, do not enter into great detail about obligations at the beginning.
9 Never scold children.
10 Finally, keep a light touch; find things to laugh about. It loosens up your head and your nerves.
Compiled by Craig Larkin SM from 'A Founder Speaks'
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