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3 Ways to Handle a Difficult Person

O Often we encounter people who can be mean, rude, obnoxious or troublesome. Though we are called to love one another, admittedly it can be very difficult. Worry no more! Saint Therese of Lisieux is here with 3 beautiful suggestions for how to love difficult people as Jesus would.

“ There is, in the Community, a Sister who has the faculty of displeasing me in everything—in her ways, her words, her character, everything seems very disagreeable to me. And still, she is a holy religious who must be very pleasing to God.”*

So how did Saint Therese confront this Sister?

1. Through Charity expressed not in feelings, but in works.

“ Not wishing to give in to the natural antipathy I was experiencing, I set myself to doing for this Sister what I would do for the person I loved most.”*

2. Through Prayer

“ I prayed to God for her, offering Him all her virtues and merits. I felt this was pleasing to Jesus; for there is no artist who doesn’t love to receive praise for his works!”*

3. By not arguing, but smiling and changing the subject.

“ I wasn’t content simply with praying very much for this Sister who gave me so many struggles, but I took care to render her every service possible, and when I was tempted to answer back in a disagreeable manner, I was content with giving her my most friendly smile, and with changing the subject of conversation.”*

One day at recreation, the Sister asked in almost these words: “Would you tell me, Sister Therese of the Child Jesus, what attracts you so much toward me; every time you look at me, I see you smile?”*

What attracted Saint Therese was Jesus hidden in the depths of that Sister’s soul–Jesus who makes sweet what is most bitter. Let us learn the art of responding to coldness, rudeness, gossip, and insults with active loving kindness and inner compassion.

*Excerpt from “Story of a Soul”: Autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux. A new translation by John Clarke, OCD