Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. †
In the spirit of the Gospel we have just read from St. Matthew and in the context of so much that our Savior has been teaching us we should reflect on the virtue of gentleness. As Isaiah foretold of the Savior, He will not break the bruised reed He will not condemn, He will not cry out. Gentleness is written on almost every page of the Gospels describing the Savior. Yet there are certain virtues that are as we might expect popular in certain times. No doubt because they conform with the spirit of those times. By now thousands of volumes have been written on the spirit of our times. And I suppose in the Western world at least, the features that characterize our age are aggressiveness, boldness, a strong, often, ruthless effort to conquer. Since the turn of our present century we have had two devastating world wars that accumulatively have cost more lives lost than in all the previous wars of human history. Surely then the virtue of gentleness scarcely typifies our age. And yet if we are going to be authentic followers of the Master we must be gentle. So we ask ourselves first what is this virtue of gentleness. Then look briefly at our Lord’s teaching about this virtue and His practice of the same and then to apply all of this to ourselves of why we, if we wish to be truly Christ-like, must be gentle.
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. †
I suggest that we reflect on the virtue of confidence. I doubt if there is any single disposition of soul that we need especially in our day more than confidence. The reason is not far to seek. See there is so much to discourage even the most hardy souls, especially people who are seriously trying to serve God. “Lord”, we ask Him, “What will happen next?” Or as one Bishop wrote to me quoting the prayer that he regularly addresses to God, “Lord how long, Oh Lord, how long?”
St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises are considered on of the great treasures of the Church. One of its most well known and helpful parts in the spiritual life are his rules for the discernment of spirits. Below we present them in their entirety.
Introduction to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Point #1 - For as strolling, walking and running are bodily exercises, so every way of preparing and (1) disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies, and, after it is rid, to (2) seek and find the Divine Will as to the management of one’s life for the salvation of the soul, is called a Spiritual Exercise.
Point #14 from St. John Paul II's "Dives et Misericorida".
Jesus Christ taught that man not only receives and experiences the mercy of God, but that he is also called "to practice mercy" towards others: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy."120 The Church sees in these words a call to action, and she tries to practice mercy. All the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount indicate the way of conversion and of reform of life, but the one referring to those who are merciful is particularly eloquent in this regard. Man attains to the merciful love of God, His mercy, to the extent that he himself is interiorly transformed in the spirit of that love towards his neighbor.
From the Confessions of Saint Augustine
Whoever I may be, Lord, I lie exposed to your scrutiny
Lord, you know me. Let me know you. Let me come to know you even as I am known. You are the strength of my soul; enter it and make it a place suitable for your dwelling, a possession without spot or blemish. This is my hope and the reason I speak. In this hope I rejoice, when I rejoice rightly. As for the other things of this life, the less they deserve tears, the more likely will they be lamented; and the more they deserve tears, the less likely will men sorrow for them. For behold, you have loved the truth, because the one who does what is true enters into the light. I wish to do this truth before you alone by praising you, and before a multitude of witnesses by writing of you.