The one word that springs out to me from this weekend’s readings is “gentleness.” That’s been a favorite virtue of mine every since reading a book back in the late 1970’s by Adrian Van Kamm called “Spirituality and the Gentle Life.” It’s something that I have striven all these years to incorporate into my own life and ministry, with the usual quotient of success and failure. I find a very deep sense of validation because this seems to be one of the hallmark virtues of Pope Francis.
The perfect model of gentleness is, of course, Jesus. He is one who does not break the bruised reed or quench the smoldering wick. He proclaims a God who calls us relentlessly, tirelessly, but not by shouting, by grasping us by the hand and gently leading us out of whatever confinement we have put ourselves in.
For so many of us, it’s hard to believe in this gentleness of Jesus and God. We’ve been catechized to just the opposite. But if we can dare believe in that gentleness our life is changed … it’s what our heart wants!!! And as I’ve said so often, your heart knows what you need way more than your head does.
Through Jesus, God knows what it is to be fragile and finite. It’s because of this that we can trust Him not to break us, bruised reeds that we are. It’s because He is with us this fully that we can trust Him not to push us beyond our faith capabilities, but to give us time to stand on the threshold and think things over. It’s because we are the sons and daughters of this kind of God that it’s okay for us to be both ready and not ready, divided, both in and out; to stand in the doorway that leads to the rest of our lives and feel both the fear and the excitement of walking in the ordinary world with a such a God.
Love deeply, laugh often, pray faithfully!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.