Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit- Sixth Hymn of Virtue: Gentleness

Photo: R. Massaro (c) 2017 Spirit Singing- Poor Clare Monastery North Canton, Ohio

Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

(Please enjoy this post from the archives)

People are given to complimenting each other's clothing, hair and external accessories. That is the way of the world. As Christians, we are striving to weave beautiful and holy garments with the fabric of virtue provided by the Holy Spirit.

St. Paul tells us to clothe ourselves in virtue. This holy attire should be evident for all to see, but as St. Teresa of Avila tells us, people who possess true humility and virtue usually are unaware that they possess these spiritual gifts. The saints spend their entire lives constantly striving to achieve virtue, totally unaware that the virtues they possess is what attracts others to them.

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017 Spirit Singing  Walsh University Chapel Canton, Ohio

I recently saw a statue of Our Lady and the Infant Jesus. The statue is a representation of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have only seen icons of Our Lady under this title, never a statue. And it is truly a beautiful statue that is displayed in the chapel of Walsh University in Canton, Ohio. I bring up this point because of Our Lady's garment on this statue. Icons are typically full of symbolism. The gold in the background of icons represents the glorious light of heaven. If you look closely, you will see the gold shining through Our Lady's garment in the photo of this statue. This light symbolizes what Christ said to the apostles and to us, “Let your light shine before men.” Not that they will say how wonderful we are but for others to give glory and praise to God.

The Gospel reading this past Saturday was about Our Lord's Transfiguration. We heard in that Gospel that his clothes became radiant as light. This manifestation was a glimpse of his glory that the apostles were blessed to witness. Jesus, a living icon, displayed his glory amidst the brilliant light of heaven! And then the voice of the Father: "This is my beloved Son, listen to him."

Reflecting on this statement, I can't help to see the similarity between the Father's command and what Our Lady said at the wedding feast at Cana. She stated to the servant, "Do whatever he tells you." In other words, listen to Him. I'm confident she said this with great gentleness and charity.

As Christians, we can ask ourselves, have I displayed the holy attire of gentleness in my dealings with family, friends and co-workers? Or, am I harsh and demanding? St. Therese tells us she (through the Holy Spirit) perfected her physical manner to become gentle in her voice and in the way she looked at others. She desired that her whole being reflect the love that was in her heart.

As Carmelites, we know that we must strive for this holy gem of virtue. Why is gentleness so important? Because the holy garment of gentleness has the light of mercy shining through it! If we, as sinners, want to be treated gently and mercifully by Our Lord, we must treat others in this same manner.

I believe these virtues are angelic qualities we must long for and possess before we are fit for the kingdom of heaven. We know that St. Paul even names one rank of angels as Virtues.

I meditate on the gentleness exhibited by the Archangel Gabriel when he addressed the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God.” Wouldn't those be lovely words to hear at our judgment? Let us pray that when the Lord summons us home, Our Lady will be by our side defending us poor sinners before the throne of God. And may we hear those gentle words that were spoken to Our Lady, “Do not fear, little one, you have found favor with God.”

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

1 comment:

Ivi said...

Well written, Rose, and so true. Love it. . . "Why is gentleness so important? Because it has the light of mercy shining through its garment."

I recall some saint saying we are all beggers before the Lord. If we see one another this way, I would assume gentleness follows.

Then I think of Francis of Assisi kissing the leper to overcome his revulsion. That required strength and gentleness.

Our sins block light, obscure vision, whatever veils gentleness deforms us. Jesus is the answer, and the Most Holy Eucharist, Confession, and prayer are His remedies.


I sooooooooooo want to hear those lovely words that Gabriel spoke to Mary at MY judgment, but not only MY judgment but for all those who seek Christ.

And Teresa of Avila might say, "Patience obtains all things."