Putting On the Virtue of Gentleness
December 21, 2022
Aquinas reminds us that the passion most immediately associated with justice is anger.1 Anger recoils in the face of injustice in order to spring back and wipe it out. It moves us to lunge toward justice, to hunger and thirst for it. Anger springs from love and respect for the human person, whose rights we perceive as being violated. It strains to right wrong, to reestablish an order in which persons can grow and flourish. It will always be aroused, therefore, when we perceive that unjust structures are depriving the poor of the political, social, economic, or personal freedom that their human dignity demands. Gentleness finds the ways of expressing anger in “action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world.”2 For those involved in ministry, education for justice and peace will be among the primary means.3
1Cf. Summa Theologica I-II. 46.2, 4, 6.
2Synod of Bishops, 1971, Justice in the World, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 63 (1971) 924.
3Cf. John Paul II, “Women: Teachers of Peace,” Origins 24 (# 28; December 22, 1994) 465-69; Jorge Mejia, “Dimensions of the Bishop’s Essential. Ministry of Peace,” Origins 24 (# 39; March 16, 1995) 641-648; Dolores Leckey, “Peacemaking and Creativity: Three Dynamics,” Origins 24 (# 45; April 27, 1995) 777-780. Leckey focuses on three dynamics that make for peace: listening, beauty, and laughter.
Source: Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M. A Further Look at “Gentleness”