From Saint Ambrose . . .
Our own evil inclinations are far more dangerous
than any external enemies.
But if these beings angels guard you, they do so because they have
been summoned by your prayers.
To avoid dissensions we should be ever on our guard, more especially
with those who drive us to argue with them, with those who vex and
irritate us, and who say things likely to excite us to anger. When
we find ourselves in company with quarrelsome, eccentric individuals,
people who openly and unblushingly say the most shocking things, difficult
to put up with, we should take refuge in silence, and the wisest plan
is not to reply to people whose behavior is so preposterous.
Those who insult us and treat us contumeliously are anxious for a
spiteful and sarcastic reply: the silence we then affect disheartens
them, and they cannot avoid showing their vexation; they do all they
can to provoke us and to elicit a reply, but the best way to baffle
them is to say nothing, refuse to argue with them, and to leave them
to chew the cud of their hasty anger. This method of bringing down
their pride disarms them, and shows them plainly that we slight and
Saint Ambrose, Offices, chapter 5
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