Generally speaking, when the member of the baptized acts that way towards you, it isn’t a bad idea to ask if things are going OK. For instance, during the Sign of Peace, it may be that an extraordinary minister has washed his or her hands with soap and do not want to exchange a handshake. Maybe they’re just not as gracious as possible about getting that across. Another possibility, unfortunately, is that something really and truly awful is going on in their life, and they’re taking it out on everyone else. This can happen without a person really appreciating that no one they’re being nasty to has done a thing to them–kind of like the old cliché where the guy gets bawled out by his boss at work and then goes home and kicks his poor unsuspecting dog or yells at his kids for nothing. Whatever the reason for bad behavior, though, the antidote for it is to meet unkindness with love. Sometimes direct correction is needed, but for those not burdened with being pastors or religious superiors, often it is best to look past these minor offenses, instead.
This is an excerpt from Story of a Soul, by St. Thérèse of Lisieux:
*“A holy nun of our community annoyed me in all that she did; the devil must have had something to do with it, and he it was undoubtedly who made me see in her so many disagreeable points. I did not want to yield to my natural antipathy, for I remembered that charity ought to betray itself in deeds, and not exist merely in the feelings, so I set myself to do for this sister all I should do for the one I loved most. Every time I met her I prayed for her, and offered to God her virtues and merits. I felt that this was very pleasing to Our Lord, for there is no artist who is not gratified when his works are praised, and the Divine Artist of souls is pleased when we do not stop at the exterior, but, penetrating to the inner sanctuary He has chosen, admire its beauty.
I did not rest satisfied with praying for this Sister, who gave me such occasions for self-mastery, I tried to render her as many services as I could, and when tempted to answer her sharply, I made haste to smile and change the subject, for the Imitation says: “It is more profitable to leave everyone to his way of thinking than to give way to contentious discourses.” And sometimes when the temptation was very severe, I would run like a deserter from the battlefield if I could do so without letting the Sister guess my inward struggle.
One day she said to me with a beaming face: “My dear Soeur Thérèse, tell me what attraction you find in me, for whenever we meet, you greet me with such a sweet smile.” Ah! What attracted me was Jesus hidden in the depths of her soul—Jesus who maketh sweet even that which is most bitter.”*