Clothe thyself with the judicial robe of gentleness

THE fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23.


IT is the part of men that are strong, to bear the weak.

And if thy servant contradict thee, bear it philosophically: not what he deserves to have said to him, do thou say or do, but that which it behooves thee both to do and to say.

Never insult a girl by uttering some foul word against her: never call thy servant, scoundrel (μιαρὸν): not he is disgraced, but thou.

It is not possible to be master of one’s self, being in a passion. Like a sea rolling mountains high, it is all hurly-burly: or even as a pure fountain, when mire is cast into it, becomes muddied, and all is in turmoil.

An icon of the Mother of God "Eleousa" (Merciful, or of Loving-kindness)

An icon of the Mother of God "Eleousa" (Merciful, or of Loving-kindness)

You may beat him, you may rend his coat to rags, but it is you that sustain the greater damage: for to him the blow is on the body and the garment, but to you on the soul. It is your own soul that you have cut open; it is there that you have inflicted a wound: you have flung your own charioteer from his horses, you have got him dragging along the ground upon his back.

And it is all one, as if one driver being in a passion with another, should choose to be thus dragged along. You may rebuke, you may chide, you may do whatever it be, only let it be without wrath and passion.

For if he who rebukes is physician to him who offends, how can he heal another, when he has first hurt himself, when he does not heal himself?

Say, if a physician should go to heal another person, does he first wound his own hand, first blind his own eyes, and so set about healing that other?

God forbid. So also, however thou rebuke, however thou chide, let thine eyes see clearly. Do not make thy mind muddy, else how shall the cure be wrought?

It is not possible to be in the same tranquillity, being in a passion, and being free from passion. Why dost thou first overturn thy master [i.e. the mind] from his seat, and then discourse with him as he lies sprawling on the ground?

Seest thou not the judges, how, when about to hold the assize, they seat themselves upon the bench, in their becoming attire? Thus do thou likewise dress thy soul with the judicial robe (which is gentleness).

Lake Ohrid and its Monastery

“May neither anger against the strong nor scorning of the weak ever erupt in my heart!”. St Nikolai wrote his “Prayers By The Lake” here beside Lake Ohrid, in the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

“But he will not be afraid of me,” say you.

He will be the more afraid.

In the other case, though you speak justly, your servant will impute it to passion: but if you do it with gentleness, he will condemn himself: and, what is of the first importance, God will accept thee, and thus thou wilt be able to attain unto the eternal blessings, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, dominion, and honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

St John Chrysostom, Homily XV on the Acts of the Apostles (on Acts 6:8). Translation from CCEL.


ANOINT my heart with the oil of Your mercy, my most merciful Lord.

May neither anger against the strong nor scorning of the weak ever erupt in my heart! For everything is weaker than the morning dew.

May hatred never make a nest in my heart against those who plot evil against me, so that I may be mindful of their end and be at peace.

Mercifulness opens the way to the heart of all creatures, and brings joy. Mercilessness brings fog to the fore, and creates a cramped isolation.

Have mercy on Your merciful servant, most Tender Hand, and reveal to me the mystery of Your mercy.

The Ultimate Man is the child of the Father’s mercy and the Spirit’s light.

St Nikolai of Ohrid and Zica, “Prayers By The Lake” No. 12 (Source).


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