Obedience September 29
While his office calls for great kindness and understanding, he must at the same time have steadfast courage in holding his brothers faithful to their vocations (Const. 14.4).
It is not easy to invite someone to the Cross. This is the experience of the superior who encourages his confreres to fidelity to their vocation. Despite the glorious reward promised, mounting the Cross is often resisted. That is why tact is critical in the superior’s repertoire of pastoral skills. The lack of tact can distance the confrere from a task even more than its disagreeable nature. A person of tact knows intuitively what is best to say or do to someone to help the person move forward in personal development. The timing of a remark, the climate for sharing, the words chosen, the gestures and the tone of voice are all details that contribute to the success or failure of a pastoral encounter. The superior should always keep in mind that the confrere is a son of God to be respected. But the confrere also has his own history that can complicate his perceptions, judgment and decisions. Tact can help the confrere be more transparent to himself and, consequently, more responsible. The lack of tact can close him up and even lead to worse behavior, effects completely different than those intended by a well meaning superior.
A shrill shout makes the wild game flee. (Shi)