what comes from the Spirit

“The adorable Heart of Jesus is our comfort, our way, our life.”
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini


(a winter treat blooms / Savannah, GA / Julie Cook / 2019)

“The experience of the Church and the saints demonstrates a general law:
what comes from the Spirit of God brings with it joy, peace, tranquility of spirit,
gentleness, simplicity, and light.
On the other hand, what comes from the spirit of evil brings sadness, trouble, agitation,
worry, confusion, and darkness.
These marks of the good and the evil spirit are unmistakable signs in themselves.”

Fr. Jacques Philippe

Gentle Humility

The voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

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(soft downy feathers of a hawk found on a walk in the woods / Julie Cook / 2014)

“These are the few ways we can practice humility:

To speak as little as possible of one’s self.

To mind one’s own business.

Not to want to manage other people’s affairs.

To avoid curiosity.

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.

To pass over the mistakes of others.

To accept insults and injuries.

To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.

To be kind and gentle even under provocation.

Never to stand on one’s dignity.

To choose always the hardest.”

― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living

Each morning, as I begin my prayers, the very first thing I do is to ask for forgiveness of my sins, of those things known and of those things unknown–sins of self–especially that of ego and pride. And it is often those very type of sins, those of self which are the ones that I am most unconscious of as they tend to be a bit insidious, seeping in through the chinks in the armor.

Our western culture tends to embrace bravado–we like winners, we like confidence, we like fighters–we also like glitz and glamor and the notion that bigger is better, more is best. All of which runs counter to the concept of gentleness and humility. It should be noted that even our reputation in other countries is often of being loud and obnoxious. Not exactly a virtuous sort of moniker.

As I read these wise words of Mother Teresa, I am convicted of heart–as is usually the case under Mother Teresa’s gentle reprimands. Oh I can rationalize that, as an American, we / me are curious people who tend to be all over the place as far as managing our lives as well as the managing of other’s lives. We / me, tend to bristle at insults. We / me do not do well with slights or complaints, and heavens knows we / me do not tolerate provocation very well at all and we / me relish waving our dignity here, there and yon. Our Media / Entertainment worlds do not help with these nasty little habits of ours, but they seem to rather enjoy instigating such and adding fuel to the fire. Makes for better ratings I’m sure.

On this new day to this new week, in the wee hours of this new year, may we all be mindful that it is gentleness that is truly the greater virtue. That humility is stronger than bravado and hype. And that it is the meek who shall inherit the earth. . .for:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.