Priest Constantin Sturzu
Gentleness is rather a neglected virtue.. It is either confounded with weakness, foolishness or obsequiousness or invoked as an argument for passivity and disengagement. In all the speeding rush from this troubled world we need to remember that `only the meek shall inherit the earth`(Psalm 36, 11, Matthew 5,5), not the powerful and aggressive. And when the Savior offers Himself as a model, He urges us:
`learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.` (Matthew 11, 29) Therefore it is essential to understand this and cultivate gentleness. It is a good sister discernment (right judgment) You may have a thousand virtues, however you will easily deviate from the true Path if you don`t have these two.
Saint Maximus the Confessor considers that there is an unbroken connection between humbleness and gentleness: `Thus whoever is humble is for sure gentle and whoever is gentle is of course humble; humble as one who knows that his existence is a gift; gentle as one who understands how to use the powers given to him according to his nature, making them to serve intellect for the rise of virtue and refusing completely to put their work at the disposal of the senses. That is why he is with his mind in a ceaseless movement towards God and with his senses he remains motionless, not wanting to feel anymore anything from what bothers indeed the body and not allowing any shadow of sadness to engrave into his soul, so that his joyful disposition may not be altered (Philocaly, vol.II IBMBOR, București, 1992, p. 323).
The attachment of God and the rejection of the outward influences which trouble him are peculiar to the gentle. These make him unbearable for the powers of darkness, that`s why Evagrius Ponticus exclaims that there is no other virtue more feared by the devils as gentleness! (Philocaly vol. I, The Institute of Graphic Arts „Dacia Traiana”, Sibiu, 1947, p. 58).
Not even asceticism, regardless of all its harshness, would be of any help if the soul is not well guided by gentleness.
The same Evagrios Ponticus remarks that `if someone would refrain from foods and drinks but through bad thoughts would provoke anger, he is like a ship which sails the sea having the devil as helmsman.
For this reason we have to be mindful with all our might at our dog teaching him to chase only the wolves and not to eat the sheep, showing all gentleness towards all people (the quoted work 58-59).
Apparently the matter is trenchant: the gentle fights against the demonic powers and shows gentleness towards all his fellow men. But this tolerance is not `politically correct` if we use an expression from nowadays
Towards all people does not mean to all the irrational human passions – as the sexually obsessed neo Marxists would like, who want to impose the legalization of the marriages between persons of the same gender, encourage the change of the biological sex even from youth, the sexual education in kindergartens to teach the very small children masturbation and many other similar horrors
In the Old Testament David and Moses are described as being the personification of gentleness. About Moses they say that `he was the most gentle man of all men on earth` (Numbers 12,3) And in the Psalms we pray as follows: `Remember God of David and all his meekness (Psalm 131,1)
However Saitn John Chrysostom finds that `these most gentle men on earth were the worst punitive ones (Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Psalms, Doxologia Publishing, Iasi, 2011, pg.265) He makes a distinction between meekness and cruelty which for sure scandalizes today all the worshipers of the idol of Tolerance (with or without red lantern)
`To hit a man does not necessarily mean cruelty and to spare a man does not necessarily mean gentleness. Gentle is the one who can bear the insults brought to him and revenges the wronged ones becoming the avenger of the offended.
As the man who is not like this, but indifferent and careless towards the suffering of his fellow man is no better than a dead.
That one is neither gentle nor benevolent. To neglect the wronged and not caring for them, to feel no anger against those who offend them it is not a virtue but wickedness. This has no connection with gentleness, but with cowardice (Saint John Chrysostom, Homilies at Psalms Doxologia Publishing, Iasi, 2011, p 573)
Of course we can`t understand from the words of Chrysostom that physical violence would be a solution for the problems of nowadays. The Saint makes an analysis of those ancient times when both Moses and David acted having as their landmark their love for God and their fellows but also the need to limit the expansion of evil among those they led.
Today we ponder the spirit of those blessed actions, seeking an adequate way to defend the oppressed and stop evil when it spreads like a plague in the communities of the faithful. The whip of the word is the weapon of this age, the courageous and wise testimony. Unfortunately it is either too little used or used without discernment, weakening in this way the divine zeal in favor of the passionate outbursts and of the worldly schemes.