I am reading (read that as 'am reading' and 'have been reading' and 'will be reading') Come Creator Spirit, by Raniero Cantalamessa. Currently the thoughts are focused on the anointing of the Spirit.
The Spirit, he writes, makes the trials and pain of life bearable, even gentle: in labore requies, in aestu temperies - rest in weariness and cool refreshment in heat.
The idea of gentleness has been an organizing principle of my thinking for some years now. Gentleness is a disposition of character that is both tender and strong, expressing energy in truth, love, self control, openness etc. Gentleness is the antithesis of manipulation, the sister of self regulation, the mother of loving justice and mercy. A gentle person is sometimes called an 'old soul' (although there are other meanings to 'old soul') because, I think, one has to have responded to life in a certain way to find gentleness. Gentleness is twinkling wisdom, humble power, ragged beauty and sips of the best wine.
That the Holy Spirit comes to us as rest in weariness and cool refreshment in heat for the purpose of gentling our lives is an idea I want to run into. I find myself at the end of a year of labor, longing, faithful attention to life and persons, diligence to a sometimes ridiculously crowded calendar and heartfelt concern for many situations, in a state of inner tension. I have a pinched nerve in my soul. smile
So this advent, Come Creator Spirit. Spirit who makes life gentle. Who teaches me gentleness. Who defuses my self promotion and self concern and brings me by the hand into laughing conversations. Come Creator Spirit, my rest, my refreshment, and show me the baby whose coming means that I am not destined to live by my own devices, but I can allow myself to be led into green pastures.