Learn from Christ, Who is Meek and Humble of Heart

A wise man understands that it is best to flee from anger

Woman caught in adultery, by James TissotThe following is an excerpt from an article by Rev. William J. Nessel, O.S.F.S., a teacher, pastor and writer.

There is an ancient fable about the wind and the sun. One day, they began to argue over which one was the strongest. Each gave compelling reasons to buttress the claim that it was the stronger. Unfortunately, neither one would concede to the other. Finally, to settle the matter and end their disagreement, the wind proposed a contest to prove who was the stronger.

Looking down from high above, the wind saw an old man walking down the road and set the terms of the contract: whoever gets the man to remove the coat more quickly will be declared the winner. The Sun agreed to the terms of the contract and suggested the Wind make the first attempt.

The harder the wind blew, the stronger the man clutched to his coat to prevent the wind from blowing it off him. After a long time, the wind seemed near exhaustion and finally gave up.

Now it was the sun’s turn. The sun shone on the man gently, and he became warmer and warmer until he began to perspire and wiped his brow. Soon, the man willingly removed his coat.

The sun revealed his secret to the wind: you looked for a way to whip the man’s coat off, and this strengthened his determination to keep it on. I gently persuaded him to remove his coat, and soon he did.

This fable about the wind and the sun contains an important lesson for all of us. Instead of engaging in a power struggle, we should let a little more sunshine in—gentleness.

Role Models for Gentleness

In the 17th century, St. Francis de Sales was known for his gentle, kind persuasion. He counseled those he guided to do all through love, and nothing through force. Posterity has given him the title of “Gentleman Saint.” If Francis were alive today, undoubtedly he would tell us the greatest role model is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ reveals his intimate nature when he says: “Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart.”  John’s Gospel records a beautiful example of the gentle Jesus in the incident of Jesus, the Pharisees, and the adulteress. The woman is caught in the act of adultery, and Mosaic Law says she is to be stoned to death. The Pharisees try to trap Jesus in a dilemma: if he says “stone her,” they could say he is hard-hearted. If he says “let her go,” they could say he has broken Mosaic Law. Either response would embarrass him before his followers.

Jesus acts like a good confessor. To the Pharisees he says: “Let the man who is without sin cast a stone at her.” They slink away, one by one. Jesus does not condemn her. He forgives her with the gentle admonition: “Go and sin no more” (Jn 8:3-11).

Read the complete story in Homiletic & Pastoral Review, “Let More Sunshine in Your Life.”

Leave a Response