Gentleness - a Form of Love

by Thomas A. Stobie, S.F.O.


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Read and pause often to think about what is mentioned as it applies to your life.

Meditation on Gentleness - a Form of Love

First, let us consider others interacting with us.

  • Do you prefer when someone talks to you calmly and gently, or when they yell at you or speak aggressively at you? People respond better to gentleness in speech.

  • Do you prefer when someone shakes your hand that they do so gently and firmly or as tight as they can squeeze? People respond better to gentleness in touch.

  • Do you prefer when someone handles your property with care and gentleness or justing throwing it around or slamming it into things? People prefer that others treat their property gentlely.

  • Do you prefer when someone is waiting for you that they wait patiently or persistantly try to hurry you up? People prefer others to wait patiently when they are trying to get something done.

  • Do you prefer when someone is walking near you that they stomp around applying excessive force or that they try to walk lightly? People prefer a courteous light walking.

  • Do you prefer when someone is helping you with a problem that they patiently work with you trying to understand your difficulties and help you with them, or that they insult you putting you down for your shortcomings? People prefer loving assistance.

Would you rather be around someone who is gentle or someone who is not?

Now let us consider our own actions with others and with things.

  • How do I treat my family? Am I patient with them or demanding all the time? Do I respect their wants and likes, or do I force my way on my family? Am I considerate of my family in my home? Do I avoid talking to myself so that I do not disturb members of my family?

  • How do I treat my co-workers? Am I patient with them or demanding all the time? Do I treat them with respect? Do I treat them with abruptness, like my time is much more valuable then theirs?

  • How do I treat other people in my community? Am I patient and gentle with others that I meet, whether in stores, in cars, in church parking lots, in restaurants, at school, at meetings, at sports events, etc.? Do I treat them with respect?

  • How do I treat property? Does it vary by whether it is my property or someone else's? Do I treat property with care or just throw it around? Do I consider my property just on loan from God at the present moment?

  • Would I treat Jesus the way I treat others? Jesus is in everyone we meet so how we treat them is how we treat Jesus. Would we treat Jesus' property like we treat our own or those of others?

Am I a gentle person or not? Why or why not?

Gentleness is not unmanly. Remember that Jesus, St. Joseph, St. Francis and Pope John Paul II, President George W. Bush, just to name a few, are all gentle men. Being gentle does not lessen men, rather it is a true characteristic of manhood. Great men tend to be gentle men.

Treating people with gentleness shows them that we value and respect them. Likewise treating things with gentleness, we show others and God, that we want to take care of what with we have been entrusted and that we desire to leave it to others in good condition.

Gentleness is a way of life, showing our love in how we interact with people and things. Like any way of life, gentleness has to be practiced for us to become more gentle. If we want to become more gentle, we must take active steps, that is (1) choosing to be more gentle, (2) keeping this resolution in mind, (3) acting in gentleness, and (4) catching ourselves when we are not gentle so that we can be more aware of our gentleness or lack of gentleness in the future.

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Prayer for the Gift of Gentleness

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O Most Gentle & Loving God,

You treat us with loving gentleness all the time. You who know us better than we now ourselves, are patient with us, loving and kind always, slow to anger and rich in compassion. Thank You, Dear Lord, for being so gentle with us.

Grant us the gift of Gentleness. Help us to treat all people and things with loving gentleness, recognizing that abruptness, loudness, excessive force, impatience, and carelessness can hurt those around us and damage things. Let our actions reflect You in all that we do.

Thank You, Lord, for the gentle people in our lives, treating us with respect and love, those whom we know and the strangers we do not. Bless them, Lord, for their gentleness.

Help us to see You, Lord, in everyone around us and to see all property as belonging to You and deserving to be kept in good condition for the next person whom You want to use it.

When we chose to be Gentle, we are choosing to live in imitation of You, Dear God. Grant that we may grow in love and gentlessness each day.

Amen.

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Other Resources

Check out my thoughts on Modern Courtesy.


Meditation by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO 2002-2003. Permission granted to copy for personal use.


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