14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 9, 2017)
Today’s Gospel speaks of our need to be gentle and humble of heart. St. Francis de Sales notes:
Take care that gentleness and humility are found within your heart. Little by little, bring your quick mind around to being patient, gentle, humble, and affable in the midst of the pettiness, childishness and imperfections of others. Humility and gentleness are true and good when they preserve us from the inflammation and swelling that injuries usually cause in our hearts.
One of the best exercises in gentleness that we can perform is in ourselves. Reason requires that we must be displeased and sorry whenever we commit a fault. Yet when we do so, we must refrain from bitter, gloomy, spiteful and emotional displeasure with ourselves. We correct ourselves much better by calm, steady repentance than by harshness. These fits of anger against ourselves spring from our self-centered love that is disturbed and upset at seeing it is imperfect. If I had seriously committed a fault, I would correct my heart in a reasonable, compassionate way and say: “Alas my poor heart, here we are, fallen into the pit we were so firmly resolved to avoid! Well, we must get up again and leave it forever. Let us start out again on the way by trusting in God. God will help us and we will do better.”
When you are inwardly peaceful, perform as many acts of gentleness as you can, no matter how small and do all you can to develop a spirit of compassion. As long as reason rules and peaceably chastises, corrects, and warns, even though firmly and exactly, everyone loves and approves it. If we find ourselves aroused to anger we must call for God’s help like the apostles when the wind and the storm tossed them about. This life is only a journey to the happy life to come. We must march as companions united in gentleness, peace and love.
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially, J. Power & W. Wright, Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal, Paulist Press.)