It’s been some time since I last quoted from the book Grace In Every Season, written by Catherine Doherty. Sadly, this book is difficult to find now, but I recently found that you can still get it through Madonna House, the community that Doherty founded.
So often, many of us are hardest on ourselves.
Be Gentle With Ourselves
How important it is to be gentle with ourselves! And how often we swing in the opposite direction, getting angry with ourselves, or even angry at God! Often we beat ourselves up, mentally speaking. We dwell upon our sins and think of ourselves as horrible people. Or we harass ourselves with the ‘wrong decisions’ we have made or with ‘indecisions’ … especially in regards to sin. We become exhausted.
We forget that the mercy of God is part of his gentleness. We forget that if we but turn to him when we have sinned and say ‘I’m sorry,” the sin is erased completely. He does not remember because he does not want to. His mercy overshadows all.
Christ said to love our neighbor as ourselves; and our first neighbor is ourselves. If you can’t love yourself you can’t love anybody else. So be gentle with yourself. How often we are ‘ungentle’ with ourselves. We can inflict so many wounds on ourselves. I can almost take you in my arms and say: ‘Rest now. Be gentle with yourselves. Be gentle’
Where do you learn how to be gentle? St. John used to recline on the breast of Christ. I think we will become gentle toward ourselves, and toward others, if we go and do likewise.
Then we will hear the heartbeats of God, and we will be able to let others hear them. Then we will be gentle with ourselves and to everybody else.