The incomparable St. Francis de Sales said in his own charming way “Nothing is so strong as true gentleness and nothing so gentle as true strength”. St. Francis of course was by nature a passionate man, and prone to anger, which with grace he mastered with the help of Divine Grace. Now the one thing that is totally lacking in the political and intellectual thinking in the West today is an understanding not only of the immutability of the truth, but the importance of gentleness. There is a veritable ocean of sentimentality, no more so than when it comes to the “Pro Choice” movement where the mother’s rights always takes precedent over the rights of the child. This sentimentality is even more apparent in the ideology of the Gay movement, which completely muddles up sexual attraction with love, which heterosexuals also do. The problem, which must be repeated endlessly, and which must cause boredom in my readers, but must be made for the sake of truth, is that marriage actually is not about sexual attraction as such, it is about having children. Of course in Western Society which is dominated by an utilitarian approach to life, everything is there to be used for my satisfaction, and this includes sex. Now if sex is divorced from marriage, all that you are left with is attraction, which if it is acted upon whenever it takes hold of the person, will become an addiction, and then lead that person into a terrible world of sexual depravity, and possibly into violence. After all sex has always been used as a weapon in war, when women are raped, and sometimes men, as they were repeatedly when the Russians invaded Germany at the end of the Second World War. This is hardly surprising when one considers how the Poles, Belarussians, Ukrainians, Russians had suffered at the hands of, not only the Nazis, but the German army. If one wants a sober and terrifying account of what the Germans did to these peoples, then I would recommend that you read Richard Evans magnificent “The Reich At War”, which is the third volume of his great opus on The Third Reich.
The whole of the Third Reich was built on brutality and thuggery, combined with a strangely inefficient bureaucratic society made up of informers, sadists, and a humiliated nation which was in turns frightened and fascinated by Hitler and his mad ideology. The Soviet Empire of Stalin was, if anything more horrific. Whereas one’s life span was short in the concentration camps, and extremely short in the Death Camps, in the Gulag one had endless years of a slow death.
Now if one has an utilitarian view of life, and added to which is the concept of life as a pursuit of pleasure, what will become crystal clear, is that one will be happy to tread upon anyone and anything to get what one wants. Such arch egotists as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot, see everyone and everything as serving their interests, their ideology, and ultimately themselves. True gentleness is the exercise of loving patience in all the events of our lives with people, situations and things. It requires tremendous self control, and a true mastery of our passions.
The problem today is that my needs, be they sexual, eugenicist, namely in the area of abortion or cloning, or the desire for power and wealth, such as we find with the Islamic State, The West in the Ukraine, and China in Africa, are spurred on by envy, avarice and greed. If my needs are not met then patience goes out of the window, and with it gentleness, and all one is left with is anger, violence, and ultimately murder or killing on a grand scale. So we have Hitler ravaging the East for land and slave workers, and “lebensraum” (living space). We have Stalin destroying millions of his own people, killing his friends and colleagues, and gripped by that terrible fury - paranoia. In China we see one of the worst tyrants of all time in Mao the Red Emperor who truly compliments his neighbour Stalin, 'The Red Tsar', killing millions in the Cultural Revolution. This terrible contempt is not simply the sole preserve of such monsters as these. Sadly the rather sad and boyish Prime Minister of Ukraine Arsenly Yatsenyuk called the Russian sub-humans, and the fearsome Yulia Timoshenko appears to want the total destruction of Russia (Rather charmingly Putin always got on with her, but perhaps time in prison has hardened her). President Poroshenko, apparently, wants only the destruction or utter subordination of the Eastern Ukraine to Kiev. Quite what Yetsanyuk a Catholic, Timoshenko and Poroshenko, both Orthodox Christians, think of their actions in the light of their master, Lord and God, Jesus Christ the carpenter of Nazareth, who has far much more in common with the Eastern Ukrainians with their bombed out homes and shattered lives, than with the billionaire life styles of the Urkainian oligarchs, would be hard to fathom. I can only think that wealth, nationalism, and a lust for power has made these rulers stupid or mad, or both.
And so we come to today’s Gospel, which is one of the most wonderful in all the gospels, and so I will quote it in full.
At that time Jesus declared, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and anyone whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”(Matthew: 11: vv.25-30)
It would seems, amidst so much suffering in the World at present, that the words of Christ make no sense “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” However they are absolutely true when one is living in total dependence on Him, for then suffering and pain are absorbed into his passion, and death, but also into his Resurrection. Whether one is one of the Eastern Ukrainians whose homes have been destroyed, or loved ones killed, whether one is one of those who have suffered at the hands of “The Caliph’s” Islamic State which is supposed to sweep the world from Indonesia to Spain, or whether one is simply suffering at the hands of another, be one a child about to be aborted, a person to be murdered or cruelly wounded, one has Christ by one’s side. For he has suffered all the sufferings of the World from the beginning of time to the final falling silent of the trumps of doom.
Gentleness is ultimately the only way.