24 January 2011

The Beauty of a Kind and Gentle Spirit...

Those of you who may be friends with me on Facebook may have noticed the note I recently posted. It was a simple quote from St. Seraphim of Sarov that is near and dear to my heart. It talks about tonight's post's title... having a kind and gentle spirit.

I know it might sound ridiculous, but I often times feel that having a gentle spirit (which has always been a part of my nature) has been a hindrance to me out in the "real world." Often times afraid that people won't take me seriously, or, even worse, afraid that people will sometimes overlook me and my opinions completely, I've often regretted that I typically been known to have a kind and gentle spirit.
(Believe it or not, one of the earliest criticisms I ever remember receiving was in elementary school and you know what the other person said? "You're too nice for your own good." I obviously took it personally and as I have shown, I still remember it to this day.)

I have to say that if I can say it this way, once I came across this quote of St. Seraphim, I knew I had been vindicated and freed from all of the years I've silently wished I was different that I am... having a wish to be louder, sometimes rougher, pointed at times, etc.
How grateful I am now for being able to see beauty in the way the Lord has created me!

Let us each bear in mind the words of St. Seraphim and carry them in our heart so that in our dealings with those around us we might come to know the very joy he talks about!

“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.”
– St. Seraphim of Sarov

My favorite Icon of St. Seraphim. I have it right next to me desk at all times.

I love this icon of him because it shows his interaction with the animals. This in itself is a testament to the gentleness and kindness that characterized his life. For me this icon epitomizes the right relationship we each should be able to have with the created order as we unite ourselves with the Creator Himself! Our hearts, minds, and entire beings shall be completely without guile and we, too, will become radiant beacons of the love and peace of God... something even the animals and all of creation will recognize in us!
May this be our desire and our prayer!

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