He was an irascible man who quarrelled easily and had violent outbursts of anger and of course endured violent outbursts from his brothers. One day he felt that it could not go on . . . he ran into the chapel, fell down before a statue of Christ and begged Him to free him of his anger. He then walked out full of hope. The first person he met was one of the brothers who had never aroused the slightest anger in him, but for the first time in his life this brother was offensive and unpleasant to him. So Philip burst out with anger and went on, full of rage, to meet another of his brothers who had always been a source of consolation and happiness to him. Yet even this man answered him gruffly. So Philip ran back to the chapel, cast himself before the statue of Christ and said 'O Lord, have I not asked you to free me from this anger?' And the Lord answered 'Yes, Philip, and for this reason I am multiplying the occasions for you to learn.' (35-36)Recently, I started working on a new fruit of the spirit: gentleness, particularly gentleness toward myself. When I talked about this with Sarah P, she reminded me that when I feel led to pray for a new fruit of the spirit, that is usually followed by a lot of testing of the particular thing I am praying for. That is definitely what happened last year when I started praying for joy.
I am guessing that there will be some times coming up where I will make mistakes and feel stupid, probably more than usual. But I am going to try to give myself a break more often and to remember that even if I don’t do something perfectly, it’s not necessarily failure. I doubt I will ever be able to hold myself as gently as God holds me, but I think it's worth trying.