Reply to mockery with a smile

18 October 2023

Their mockery comes from a malicious heart; let your smile be without any badness. Mockery sits well with ignorance; a smile is more suited to knowledge. Through their mockery they’re increasing the value of your prayer before the eternal Judge. Because God is more enamored of the prayer of a bold soul, surrounded by the arrows of wickedness, hatred, envy and mockery. The tips of these arrows have been blunted and the base of the shafts sharpened, so that they’re warded off by you and pierce the archers who shot them.

David’s wife, Michal, once mocked the fervent prayer of her husband. God was more affronted by this mockery than King David was. This is why the Lord most high punished Michal: ‘And Michal, daughter of Saul, had no children to the day of her death’ (2 Kings 6, 23 [2 Samuel 6, 23]). If you pay attention to events and the fate of people, you’ll see for yourself that today, too, God punishes severely those who mock the sacred.

And if you think that any word is stronger medicine for them than silence, say to those mocking you: ‘Are my eyes deceiving me or am I seeing straight? Every day, you entreat merchants, land-owners and law-enforcers, each for a variety of reasons, and yet you’re mocking me because I entreat our eternal Creator. Isn’t it more ridiculous to ask for something from somebody who’s incapable, instead of going to the Almighty? Isn’t it absurd to venerate dust rather than the Lord, the Giver of life?’. It says somewhere in the prophet: ‘Cursed are they who place their hope in people’ (Jer. 17, 5). Those who place their hopes in mortal people, in a fleeting bubble and don’t lay it on God Almighty are obviously cursed. And this curse on them and their houses can be confirmed through everyday experience. It’s clear that, in the same way, those people are cursed who ask things of people but not of him who sustains everything and can do everything. But take note: sometimes silence is more effective than words.

The first mockery unsettles the soul that prays. But you’ve already survived and haven’t given up on prayer. Any further mockery is an incentive. You can tell yourself you already have experience. Now you feel that God’s somehow closer to you, the Church more beloved by you and prayer is sweeter. You should know that the time will come when the mockery will cease. Then people will come round, they’ll admire and praise you and then your soul will be in greater danger than it is now. Now you’re learning humility, but then you’ll be defending yourself against pride. But that’s another issue, a different temptation.

You should know that those who torment us with their mockery are precisely those who are our enemies. These are the people Christ was referring to when he gave the commandment ‘Love your enemies’ (Matth. 5, 44). Without knowing, they’re doing us good. By hurting us and troubling us, they’re lighting the flame of divine fire within us. They bark behind our backs when we’re on our way to church, but that just pushes us closer to God. By making the earth more tiresome for us, they make heaven more attractive. Frost and the wind don’t think about the tree, but even unwittingly they do it good. So it is with your enemies and you.

So forgive them and bless them, pray to God for them and- this is the culmination- love them as your greatest benefactors after God.

Pay frequent visits to houses of sorrow. Visit the grave-yard, as well. Think about Christ’s cross and kiss it as often as you can. And think about the end of life. All of this will help strengthen your resolve to pray and you’ll reach the final victory.

Peace and the Lord’s mercy.