Conversation

Jesus said: “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in a house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5:15-16)

Human beings are social beings. Padre Quadrupani gives advice on how we ought to conduct ourselves in conversation with each other.

He says: “A holy spirit of liberty should dominate our conversations and serve to instil into them a gentle and moderate gaiety.”

“Conversation should be marked by a gentle and devout pleasantness, and your manner when engaged in it, ought to be equable, composed and gracious. Mildness and cheerfulness make devotion and those who practice it attractive to others. The holy abbot Saint Anthony, notwithstanding the extraordinary austerities of his penitential life, always showed such a smiling countenance that no one could look at him without pleasure.” Likewise, “It was by the charm and urbanity of his conversation that Saint Francis de Sales prepared the way for the conversion of numbers of heretics and sinners, and by imitating him you will contribute towards making piety in the world more attractive.”

“In small social gatherings try to make yourself agreeable to everybody present and to show to each some little mark of attention, if you can do so without affectation.”

“We should be neither too talkative nor too silent,—it is as necessary to avoid one extreme as the other. By speaking too much we expose ourselves to a thousand dangers, so well known that they need not be mentioned in detail: by not speaking enough we are apt to be a restraint upon others, as it makes it seem as though we did not relish their conversation, or wished to impress them with our superiority.”

Recall this useful adage: “In conversation we should show deference to our superiors, affability to our equals, and benevolence to our inferiors.”

St. Francis de Sales says: “Charity should govern and enlighten us in order to make us accede to the wishes of our neighbor in whatever is not in any way contrary to the commandments of God.”

Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).

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Sayings of Catholic saints and sages: spiritual food for meditation and reflection.
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