The Lord’s gentleness
This past December, I felt prompted to do a consecration to Jesus through Mary by Saint Louis de Montfort, and the 33 days of preparation I did leading up to my consecration were some of the most dry, desolate days I had experienced in a long time. I had absolutely no desire to pray, to go to Mass, or to receive the sacraments.
The only thing that kept me tethered was the Sunday Mass obligation and the different prayers said every day in preparation for my consecration. There were no spiritual insights or depths of knowledge I received, and it honestly felt like I was in the desert. I felt heartbroken, mad at myself, and beat myself up over feeling this way.
So going into 2023, I already felt exhausted over the idea of a new year.
I’m the type of person who just powers through things and gets stuff done by my own accord. I’m the type of person that will give all the mercy in the world to someone who is honestly struggling, but striving to love Jesus, but don’t give myself that same measure of compassion. I can be incredibly hard on myself because I think I should know better. I can also be extremely self-reliant. Can any of you relate?
On New Year's Eve, I had some close friends over for a bonfire, and we were talking about going into the new year with excitement and joy, but I also felt despair and numbness. During our conversation, I felt the Lord whisper to me, “I want you to focus on my gentleness.”
That same evening with my friends, I had written down the fruits of the Holy Spirit on little scraps of paper and we each randomly drew one on which to focus in 2023. You can guess which one I drew: gentleness.
If we want people to taste and see the goodness of God as it says in Psalm 34, we have to look at the fruits lived out in our lives. I believe the Lord was highlighting this particular fruit because He wanted me to experience the gentleness He has for me.
Friends, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God by your own strength. You cannot power through your desolation, heartache, grief, or loneliness to get to your own healing. The Lord lays it out pretty simply: “The kingdom of God belongs to children.”
Children are helpless by themselves. They only know how to receive from their parents. They only know the safety and protection their parents give, and they don’t know how to provide for themselves. So why would we, adopted sons and daughters of God, think we could do anything differently?
At the beginning of this Lent, maybe the Lord is also inviting you into living and experiencing His gentleness.
Maybe the holier option is to not white knuckle your way through suffering, grinning and bearing it, even though it’s not producing fruit that leads others to taste and see that God is good? Maybe the holier option is to lean into the Lord’s gentleness and kindness and realize that He is a good Father who wants to invite you into His rest?
He is a Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep. You don’t have to prove that you’re worthy of being taken care of, prove that you are worthy of being saved, or of being loved.
God delights in His children simply because He has called you His own. Maybe He’s calling you to lean into His gentleness so you can taste and see the goodness of the Father.