A Pure Vessel

“Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:12-13)

Gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, a virtue of meekness of personality, mildness in discretion, softness of manner, being amiable among friends, and sensitivity to the needs of others.

The early church fathers frequently associated the Holy Spirit with the virtue of gentleness. The Holy Spirit is of a sensitive essence, and greatly favors a gentle dwelling place. Hermas wrote, “If you are patient, the Holy Spirit that dwells in you will be pure. He will not be darkened by any evil spirit, but, dwelling in a broad region, he will rejoice and be glad…But if any outburst of anger takes place, immediately the Holy Spirit, who is sensitive, is constricted. For He does not have a pure place, and He seeks to depart.”

St. Clement of Alexandria addressed the gentle nature of the Holy Spirit’s when he wrote, “When the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized, God assumed the likeness not of another man, but of a dove, for He wished, by a new apparition of the Spirit in the likeness of a dove, to declare His simplicity and majesty.” The dove is white denoting purity. It is a sensitive bird with the least noise causing it to quickly take flight. It is a soft spoken bird; the dove’s song is similar to soft moaning. The dove does not attack other birds even when hungry.

The virtue of gentleness when abiding in a pure vessel or one that desires to be pure encourages slowness to wrath which is itself a virtue. The virtue of gentleness helps develop the personality to be slow to anger and encourages the capability of calming oneself and of thinking through situations where anger has erupted. In gentleness one is taught to control their nerves and their tongue, and use wisdom in responding to angry persons and situations.

If Moses had practiced gentleness and had not stuck the rock he would not have lost the inhabitation of the Promised Land of Canaan. The harshness of anger is certain sin.

The early church continues to survive, thrive, and the one faith has endured through the centuries by adherence to the Christian virtues, faith, endurance, gentleness, kindness, self-control and good works.

St. James in his epistle further preaches and teaches that to continue in the meekness of wisdom is true wisdom. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:13-18).

Gentleness is a fruit of the spirit, a virtue, and essential for those whom desire to have the Holy Spirit abide within them. Gentleness through its quietness echoes the nature of the Heavenly and saves us from sin…

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

Bishop Youssef