Advent Reflections (Day 17)

by | Dec 12, 2022 | Formation

Putting On the Virtue of Gentleness
December 13, 2022

Gentleness entails the ability to handle anger positively. Anger is natural. It is energy that spontaneously arises within us when we perceive something as evil. It helps us to deal with evil. It prepares us to “fight,” as Darwin might put it. But, like all spontaneous emotions, it can be used well or badly… all sorts of people have trouble handling it well. As mentioned above, there are many “angry people” in the world. Uncontrolled anger, in its most violent forms, erupts into war, assault, rape, murder, and the many crimes that make headlines in daily newspapers. In its less violent forms, unregulated rage shows itself in outbursts of temper, angry diatribes, refusal to talk to others, throwing things, slamming doors, pouting, holding grudges, attempts at “getting even.” [As an example of “positive” anger, St. Vincent] himself was outraged at the plight of the sick and the hungry, so he established the Confraternities of Charity, the Congregation of the Mission, and the Daughters of Charity. Anger enabled him to react with vigor and creativity when confronted with the needs of the poor in his day. He also expressed anger directly when he perceived evil within his communities, but he learned to combine his anger with gentleness. He knew how to mix the bitter and the sweet, as he told Louise de Marillac.1 He sought to imitate Jesus who was equally “gentle and firm.”2

1CCD I, 292-94.
2CCD VII, 226.

Source: Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M. A Further Look at “Gentleness”


Let us pray

Lord, as St. Vincent pointed out, handling anger well often involves expressing it appropriately. Grant that I may do so, with the help of Your grace.


But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy.

James 3:17

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