Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Every day that we wake up is a good day. Every breath that we take is filled with hope for a better day. Every word that we speak is a chance to change what is bad into something good….every moment of the day brings new opportunities and possibilities.

O God, this morning I have come into the quietness and stillness of your presence, to begin the day, so that out of this moment, I may take with me a quiet serenity, which will last me through the rough and smooth of this day’s life. Many hours of the day are waiting to be filled a hundred ways with a hundred prayers. But, right now, at this very moment, I am at peace. You have blessed and graced my day. I walk with you, God. I sit with you, God. I run with you, God. Teach me to walk gently, be gentle with myself and with others. May gentleness become the quality of my presence.

We reflected on “Courage” as our theme of Reflection in 2014. Our theme for Reflection in 2015 will be the gift of “Gentleness”. We want to explore and reflect on “Being Gentle” as our way of being, of living and of acting. I invite all of you to walk with me on this journey of being and becoming gentle and learning to walk gently and treat ourselves and others gently no matter what life may bring as we continue our journey.

Webster’s Collegiate dictionary uses many words to describe the word “gentle”: honorable, distinguished, kind, amiable, docile, free from harshness or violence, soft, delicate, moderate and so on.

To be gentle is often seen as being weak, mild, submissive, subservient, lacking courage, ineffective, passive, etc. If that is so, who wants to be gentle?!!! Such gentleness is not seen as a virtue. Most people would prefer to be like the boy whose mother kept calling him “My little lamb” and he finally, said, “Mother, I don’t want to be your little lamb. I want to be your little tiger”. We want to think of ourselves as being courageous and strong….gentleness is not appealing. We want to be conquerors and gentleness sounds too much like surrender and who wants to surrender…..we want to keep fighting…we want to conquer!

Gentleness is not weakness or cowardice. Gentleness is not passiveness or inactivity. When you think of gentleness you might think of a gentle animal, one that’s tame and placid and easily led. Biblical gentleness is not about being tame, compliant or docile. It’s not about weakness, cowardice, or inactivity.

Gentleness is hard to define because it involves lots of other qualities like compassion, wisdom, patience, humility, love, and respect and so on.

Gentleness is strength. “By patience a ruler can be persuaded and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15). Unlike the movies where problems are solved with guns and ammunitions, we are challenged to be patient, gentle, kind and considerate in solving our problems. Gentleness is strength, but strength under control, disciplined strength, “restrained strength”. It is choosing not to use violence or power or force or weapons or any other means to bring others under control. It is strength that brings harmony.

Gentleness is strength, but disciplined strength for the benefit of others, for the good of the family, community and society. It is concern for others, especially the weak and the vulnerable. It is putting our agenda on hold to meet the needs of others. Gentleness calls forth self-discipline, self-restraint, self-control, other-centeredness and real humility!

A story tells of a corporal at Valley Forge who was directing three men as they tried to lift a log into place. It was too heavy, but the corporal commanded again and again, “All right, men, one, two, three, lift!” A man in an overcoat came by and said to the corporal, ‘Why don’t you help them?” The corporal pulled himself up to full height and replied, “Sir, I am a corporal.” Without a word the man stepped over and with his help the log went easily into place. The man was George Washington.

Gentleness includes true humility that does not consider itself too good or too exalted for humble tasks. Gentleness means recognizing that the world around us is fragile, especially other people. It is recognizing our own capacity to do harm and choosing instead to be tender, soft-spoken, soft-hearted, and careful. When we are gentle we touch the world in ways that protect and preserve it.

Being gentle doesn’t mean being weak; gentleness can be firm, even powerful. To behave in a gentle manner requires that we stay centered in our own values and strength — that we are active rather than reactive. Coming from this center, a gentle word or touch can channel our energy into healing or making peace.

Gentleness results from my experience of God’s Love for me as I am. When I am sure of God’s acceptance and Love, I can afford to be gentle because when God himself considers me worthwhile, there is no further need to assert myself or compete with others and prove my worth. The certainty of God’s love for me frees me from self-concern and self-absorption. I can afford to be gentle.

Scriptures give us many examples of God being gentle with his people, restraining his strength for the weak…tending his flock like a shepherd: gathering the lambs in his arms, carrying them close to his heart, gently leading them that are young (Isaiah 40:10-11).

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land” (Mathew 5:5) and he called his listeners as he calls us today, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden. I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)

There is much about gentleness in the writing of Paul and the other apostles. Number eight in the list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is gentleness.

St. Paul asked the Corinthians, “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod or in love and with a gentle spirit?” (1 Corinthians 4:21). Paul had a tremendous love for the believers in Corinth and he was going to admonish them with gentleness. He appealed to the Corinthians by “the meekness and kindness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1). Then he goes on to say that the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. They have divine power to tear down strongholds. We are not carried away by rage, personal vindictiveness, greed, or pride as we seek victories for Christ. But with the gentleness of Christ.

Paul wrote to the Galatians to treat a person in sin with gentleness. He says, those who are spiritual must treat the less spiritual with gentleness. Even the best of us may slip up, just as one might slip on an icy or dangerous path. We are to help one another carry the burdens. If we are truly filled with the Spirit, we will show gentleness and not hardness or condemnation, as we try to help those weak in spirit. (Galatians 6:1ff)

Paul encouraged the Ephesians to live a life worthy of the calling they received with “perfect humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another lovingly” (Eph. 4:2)

Paul urged the Colossians “clothe yourselves “with heart-felt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12).

May God bless you and enable you to experience His steadfast, unfailing, unconquerable and unconditional, gentle and tender Love. I pray that you will be steadfast, faithful, loyal, unfailing, courageous, tender and gentle in all the situations that you encounter. May God bless you and keep you safe in His Love.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs


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