Bestow on me, O Lord, a genial spirit and unwearied forbearance; a mild, loving, patient, heart; kindly looks, pleasant cordial speech, and manners in the exchange of daily life; that I may give offense to none, but as much as in lies live in charity with all men. By Johann Arndt (1555-1621)
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near Philippians 4:5
I am infamous for having no tact. Due to being on the autism spectrum, I tend to be blunt and honest to a fault. It’s not always a good thing. Still, we live in a society that tends to be critical about everything. What exactly is so good about being gentle?
The dictionary has many definitions for the word “gentle.”On the one hand, it refers to a man of a certain class and distinction, a gentleman, like Mr. Knightley in Jane Austen’s Emma.These men are expected to be chivalrous, honorable, courteous, and distinguished. “Gentle” is also defined as being kind, friendly, docile, and tactful. These traits are usually associated with women more than men. Mary of Bethany, from the Gospel of Luke, is a good example of gentleness, as she chooses to sit and listen at Jesus’s feet, even as Martha chews her out for not helping her clean up. Martha is not exactly known for her tact, but learns that sometimes, it’s better to sit and and just spend time with Jesus rather than getting caught up in all the worries and distractions of the day.
Both men and women these days need to learn how to be gentle towards each other, much like Belle and the Beast had to do in Beauty and the Beast. When the Beast gets hurt from a pack of wolves that attacked him, Belle tends to his wounds, but it results in an argument. Ultimately, the Beast learns that he needs to control his temper while Belle tries to make the best of her situation and becomes more tactful in her interactions with the Beast. The changes in both of their demeanors develops into a friendship that eventually leads to the Beast regaining his humanity.
If you’re like me or St. Martha, and you have a tendency to be blunt with your opinions, know that sometimes situations call for you to just listen or to take a more tactful approach. We can learn how to be gentle by trying to be courteous and friendly towards others. Gentleness can soften our sharp edges and will make a difference in how we get along with other people. It is through gentleness that we can tame our inner beasts and bring out the beauty that God has given us.
To Jesus through Mary-Monique Ocampo