Eighth Fruit: Gentleness
Gentleness is eternal strength. It is lasting strength forged from humility.
While the world assaults us with lies such as, “might makes right, “the tough survive,” and “winning is everything,” Gentleness quietly whispers, “know yourself.”
St. Francis of Assisi, in describing true humility says, “… what a person is before God, that he/[she] is and no more.”1
When we choose to remove our masks of “tough guy,” or “It girl” or any other false self-perceptions, we have no choice but to look honestly at ourselves. Our masks, our props are gone. We are simply who we are before God and no more. Embracing and living out of our true identity brings forth the gift of gentleness within us and in our relationships with others.
There is no longer any need to beat ourselves down or pump ourselves up. There is no need to intimidate, control or cause harm to another in order to get ahead. Gentleness becomes our “modus operandi” in our relationships, and we feel no less human for it; rather, we become more human and therefore, more holy.
God is wholly gentle—gently leading, gently guiding anyone whose heart’s desire is to know God and to know self.
1 Francis of Assisi, Early Documents, Vol. I. Eds. Armstrong, Regis, Hellmann, Wayne, Short, William. New York: New City Press, © 1999, Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY, p. 135
Sr. Sharon of Jesus, osc