Gentleness & The Work of Sanctification
Who would find it easy to believe that to become a saint, mildness is just as necessary as strength, perhaps even more so? Mildness is not weakness; rather it indicates strength. Weak souls do their works with noise and show; the strong operate with marvelous gentleness. Life is as strong as it is gentle, while love is as powerful as it is delicate. So the action of God upon nature, in history, and on souls is infinitely mighty and infinitely mild.
The action of God upon his saints is most gentle. How he respects our freedom! How he condescends to our weakness! He does not run, jump, or act violently. We rush, being weak creatures, but God works slowly because he deals with eternity. We bewail the passage of minutes, but God serenely watches the flow of years. We wish to achieve the goal of our desires in a hurry, but God prepares his work gently. Our inconstancy does not tire him, nor do our failures startle him, nor do the complicated vicissitudes of human life overturn his eternal designs.
Conversions are prodigies of gentleness, as Saint Augustine’s was. The long stages necessary for union are prodigies of gentleness, as were the paths Saint Theresa traveled. Great missions from God are also prodigies of gentleness, as Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s was. If we knew how to study the divine action in every saint, in every soul, we would be astonished, perhaps more at the gentleness than at the power of the sanctifying action.
Gentleness is indispensable for us if we are to become holy, something we often forget. Undoubtedly many souls do not sanctify themselves because of a lack of power; but many also, indeed very many, fail to do so because of a lack of gentleness.
The human soul is precious and delicate. It came forth from the divine lips as a most gentle breath. The divine blood of Jesus cleanses it and renders it beautiful. And the soul is destined to be united with God himself and to participate in the life and ineffable mystery of the most Blessed Trinity.
Such an exquisite jewel must be handled with great delicacy. That is how God treats it, and that is how we should treat it. What an atmosphere of purity of mind, of peace, and of delicacy ought to surround a soul for it to achieve its sanctification! When the soul is borne to another atmosphere, it pines and laments! It is like those beautiful and delicate flowers that a strong wind withers or the heat of the sun discolors and parches.
I think that the greater part of the spiritual ills of those who seek perfection comes from a lack of gentleness. Our poor, ever disquieted souls need gentleness. Desiring holiness, they want to achieve it all at once. They cannot bear their own miseries. They grow angry at their weaknesses, and with an over-refinement of ingenuity they continually worry and grieve themselves.…
Mildness is necessary to those who are strict with themselves to the point of excess. They have forgotten the pages of the Gospel, which tell us about mercy and love. They see in Christ only the severe face of a Judge, without remembering that he is also our Friend, Father, Spouse, and above all, Savior who came to heal our miseries. They do not know that the sweet honey of love achieves more with the poor human heart than the bitter gall of severity.
Martinez, L. (2011). Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martinez. (G. Santos, Ed.) (pp. 15–17). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.