Daily Thought For September 4, 2019

St. Francis de Sales On Gentleness

Gentleness, as a little virtue that Francis so ably demonstrated to others, begins first of all with our attitude toward ourselves, particularly as our spiritual journey requires much effort. 

One of the best exercises in meekness we can perform is when the subject is in ourselves. We must not fret over our own imperfections. Although reason requires that we must be displeased and sorry whenever we commit a fault, we must refrain from bitter, gloomy, spiteful, and emotional displeasure. Many people are greatly at fault in this way. When overcome by anger they become angry at being angry, disturbed at being disturbed, and vexed at being vexed. By such means they keep their hearts drenched and steeped in passion . 
. . . A father's gentle, loving rebuke has far greater power to correct a child than rage and passion. So too when we have committed some fault if we rebuke our heart by a calm, mild remonstrance, with more compassion for it than passion against it and encourage it to make amendment, then repentance conceived in this way will sink far deeper and penetrate more effectually than fretful, angry, stormy repentance. (Introduction to the Devout Life, pp. 149-150) 

When this gentleness sinks deep within us, it wells up again to become a stream of good will for serving others. 

Don't lose any opportunity, however small, of being gentle toward everyone. Don't rely on your own efforts to succeed in your various undertakings, but only on God's help. Then rest in His care of you, confident that He will do what is best for you, provided that you, for your part, work diligently but gently. I say" gently" because a tense diligence is harmful both to our heart and to our task and is not really diligence, but rather overeagerness and anxiety. (Letters of Spiritual Direction, p. 159) 

from Praying with Francis de Sales by Thomas F. Dailey p.85

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