Subject: 7 Qualities of Mercy Sample

7 Qualities of Mercy
Week 3: The Merciful Heart Is a Gentle Heart 
Day 6: Gentleness and St. Francis de Sales by Fr. Paul J. Henry

The true disciple of Christ reflects his divine Teacher; he has accepted the love of His Sacred Heart. He has learned the lesson of Christ’s heart, Christ who said “learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Mt 11:29). Of all the virtues Jesus could have chosen to describe himself, he chose those two. 

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing is so
gentle as real strength"
(St Francis de Sales).



Today’s understanding of gentleness is a misunderstanding. Our culture often mistakes gentleness and kindness for weakness. As Saint Francis de Sales wrote “Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing is so gentle as real strength.”(S IV 9)

As a saint, Francis de Sales is known as an example of Christian gentleness, but gentleness did not come naturally to him. Actually, he was prone to anger. Realizing it was God’s will to have the heart of Christ formed in him, Francis was open to transformation and prayed for it. He reasoned that the virtue opposite a vice is accomplished only by cooperating with grace. 

During a meeting with his priests as their bishop, one priest harshly criticized him. After a few moments of silence, De Sales’ secretary leaned over with dismay and asked, “Aren’t you going to answer him?” Francis replied, “Would you have me lose in one moment what has taken me 24 years to gain?” That is real strength.

Take a few moments to bring your thoughts or insights  from this reflection to prayer.
Ask God for the grace to live what you have reflected on. Close your prayer time with the prayer below.
You may wish to carry this prayer through your day. 

7 Qualities of Mercy 
is a seven week Do-It-With-Us retreat to help you become a more merciful you.

For more information on other programs and free resources like this visit Light Along the Way.
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