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Catholic Activity: About Not Holding a Grudge

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From the story of St. John Gualbert about not holding a grudge. A good story to tell to your children.

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St. John Gualbert was the son of a noble Florentine, who had only one other and older son, Hugh. When Hugh was murdered by a man supposed to be his friend, John swore vengeance and, in spite of the warnings and sorrow of his father, he set out to destroy him. Well might his father sorrow more over John than over his murdered son, for the motive of revenge is not excusable even in the punishment of a murderer. Still less is it acceptable before God to try to right one injury with another or one murder with another. By chance one day John met his enemy in a very narrow passage and, having the advantage, drew his sword to run him through. The enemy, knowing he had no chance to save himself, fell to his knees, crossed his hands over his breast (let us hope he made a good act of contrition) and awaited the death blow. John advanced in a fury — halted and remembered Christ had prayed for His murderers as He hung on the cross. He put up his sword, gave his enemy his hand and, drawing him to his feet, embraced him. They parted in peace.

As he went down the road, filled with contrition for the terrible deed he had intended to do, he came to the monastery of San Miniato, entered it, and kneeling before the Crucifix he poured out his heart in contrition. As he prayed, the Crucifix miraculously bowed its head as though to bless John's victory over revenge and John was filled with the desire to serve only Christ. He went to the abbot to ask permission to wear the habit, and, when the abbot hesitated for several days for fear of the displeasure of John's father, John hacked off his hair and put on a borrowed habit. This convinced Father Abbot that the young penitent was a serious prospect and he received him into the community.

Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958

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