Friday, April 24, 2009

The gentleness of St. Peter

"Do you see what a great thing gentleness is, how it stings our hearts more than vehemence? It inflicts indeed a keener wound. For in the case of bodies that have become callous, a blow does not affect the sense so powerfully, but if someone first softens them and makes them tender, then a stab is effective. Likewise here one must first soften, and that which softens is not wrath, not vehement accusation, not reproach, but gentleness ... For notice how he gently reminded them of the outrages they have committed, adding no comment. He spoke of the gift of God, he brought in the grace that bears witness to the event, and he drew out his discourse to still greater length. They stood in awe of the gentleness of Peter, because he was speaking like a father and caring teacher to them who crucified his master and breathed murder against himself and his companions. They were not merely persuaded; they even condemned themselves. They came to a sense of their past behavior."

St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles

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