St. Louis de Montfort (b. 1673- d. 1716) wrote a book explaining Jesus Christ, Eternal Wisdom. It is called The Love of Eternal Wisdom, and can be read online (see link, below). The following is an extended excerpt wherein St. Louis de Montfort expounds on the “pure gentleness and beauty” of Jesus Christ:
THE CAPTIVATING BEAUTY AND THE INEXPRESSIBLE GENTLENESS OF INCARNATE WISDOM
- As the divine Wisdom became man only to stir the hearts of men to love and imitate him, he took pleasure in gracing his human nature with every kind of quality, especially an endearing gentleness and a kindness without any defect or blemish.
[1. Wisdom is gentle in his origin]
- If we consider him in his origin he is everything that is good and gentle. He is a gift sent by the love of the eternal Father and a product of the love of the Holy Spirit. He was given out of love and fashioned by love (Jn. 3:16). He is therefore all love, or rather the very love of the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was born of the sweetest, tenderest and the most beautiful of all mothers, Mary, the divinely favoured Virgin. To appreciate the gentleness of Jesus we must first consider the gentleness of Mary, his Mother, whom he resembles by his pleasing nature. Jesus is Mary’s child; consequently there is no haughtiness, or harshness, or unpleasantness in him and even less, infinitely less, in him than in his Mother, since he is the eternal Wisdom and therefore pure gentleness and beauty.
[2.He is declared gentle by the Prophets]
- The prophets, who had in advance been shown the incarnate Wisdom, referred to him as a sheep and a lamb because of his gentleness. They foretold that because of his gentleness “he would not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax” (Is. 42:3). He is so full of kindness that even if a poor sinner be weighed down, blinded, and depraved by his sins, with already, as it were, one foot in hell, he will not condemn him unless the sinner compels him to do so. St John the Baptist for almost thirty years lived in the desert practising austerities to gain the knowledge and love of incarnate Wisdom. No sooner had he seen Jesus approaching than he pointed him out to his disciples, exclaiming, “Behold the Lamb of God. Behold him who takes away the sins of the world.” (Jn. 1:29). He did not say, as seemingly he should, “Behold the Most High, behold the King of Glory, behold the Almighty.” But knowing him more thoroughly than any man at any time, he said: Behold the Lamb of God, behold that eternal Wisdom who, to captivate our hearts and to take away our sins, has gathered into his person all that is meek in God and in man, in heaven and on earth.
[3. He is gentle in his name]
- But what does the name of Jesus, the proper name of incarnate Wisdom signify to us if not ardent charity, infinite love and engaging gentleness? The distinctive characteristic of Jesus, the Saviour of the world, is to love and save men. “No song is sweeter, no voice is more pleasing, no thought is more appealing, than Jesus Son of God.” How sweet the name of Jesus sounds to the ear and the heart of a chosen soul! Sweet as honey to the lips, a delightful melody to the ears, thrilling joy to the heart.
[4. He is gentle in his looks]
- “Gentle is Jesus in his looks, and in his words and actions.” The face of our loving Saviour is so serene and gentle that it charmed the eyes and hearts of those who beheld it. The shepherds who came to the stable to see him were so spellbound by the serenity and beauty of his face that they tarried for many days gazing in rapture upon him. The three Kings, proud though they were, had no sooner seen the tender features of this lovely child than, forgetting their high dignity, they fell down on their knees beside his crib. Time and again they said to one another,”Friend, how good it is to be here! There are no enjoyments in our palaces comparable to those we are experiencing in this stable looking at this dear Infant-God.” When Jesus was still very young, children and people in trouble came from the country around to see him and find comfort and joy. They would say to each other, “Let us go and see young Jesus, the lovely child of Mary.” St John Chrysostom says, “The beauty and majesty of his face were at once so sweet and so worthy of respect that those who knew him could not prevent themselves from loving him, and distant kings, hearing of his beauty, desired to have a painting of him. It is even said that our Lord by special favour sent his portrait to King Abogare. Some writers tell us that the Roman soldiers and the Jews covered his face in order to strike and buffet him freely because there was in his eyes and face such a kindly and ravishing radiance as would disarm the most cruel of men.
[5. He is gentle in his words]
- Jesus is also gentle in his words. When he dwelt on earth he won everyone over by his gentle speech. Never was he heard to raise his voice or argue heatedly. The prophets foretold this of him (Is. 42:2). Those who listened to him with good intentions were charmed by the words of life which fell from his lips and they exclaimed, “No man has ever spoken as this man” (Jn. 7:46). Even those who hated him were so surprised at his eloquence and wisdom that they asked one another, “Where did he get such wisdom?” (Mt. 13:54). No man has ever spoken with such meekness and unction. “Where did he acquire such wisdom in his speech?” they asked. Multitudes of poor people left their homes and families and went even as far as the desert to hear him, going several days without food or drink, for his gentle words were food enough for them. The apostles were led to follow him by his kindly manner of speaking. His words healed the incurable and comforted the afflicted. He spoke only one word, – “Mary” – to the grief-stricken Mary Magdalene and she was overwhelmed with joy and happiness.
THE GENTLENESS OF THE INCARNATE WISDOM IN HIS ACTIONS
[6. He is gentle in his actions]
- Finally, Jesus is gentle in his actions and in the whole conduct of his life. “He did everything well” (Mt. 7:37), which means that everything he did was done with such uprightness, wisdom, holiness and gentleness that nothing faulty or distorted could be found in him. Let us consider what gentleness our loving Saviour always manifested in his conduct.
- Poor people and little children followed him everywhere seeing him as one of their own. The simplicity, the kindliness, the humble courtesy and the charity they witnessed in our dear Saviour made them press close about him. One day when he was preaching in the streets the children who were usually about him, pressed upon him from behind. The apostles who were nearest to our Lord pushed them back. On seeing this Jesus rebuked his apostles and said to them, “Do not keep the children away from me” (Mt. 19:14). When they gathered about him he embraced and blessed them with gentleness and kindness. The poor, on seeing him poorly dressed and simple in his ways, without ostentation or haughtiness, felt at ease with him. They defended him against the rich and the proud when these calumniated and persecuted him, and he in his turn praised and blessed them on every occasion.
- But how describe the gentleness of Jesus in his dealings with poor sinners: his gentleness with Mary Magdalene, his courteous solicitude in turning the Samaritan woman from her evil ways, his compassion in pardoning the adulterous woman taken in adultery, his charity in sitting down to eat with public sinners in order to win them over? Did not his enemies seize upon his great kindness as a pretext to persecute him, saying that his gentleness only encouraged others to transgress the law of Moses, and tauntingly called him the friend of sinners and publicans? With what kindness and concern did he not try to win over the heart of Judas who had decided to betray him, even when Jesus was washing his feet and calling him his friend! With what charity he asked God his Father to pardon his executioners, pleading their ignorance as an excuse.
- How beautiful, meek and charitable is Jesus, the incarnate Wisdom! Beautiful from all eternity, he is the splendour of his Father, the unspotted mirror and image of his goodness. He is more beautiful than the sun and brighter than light itself. He is beautiful in time, being formed by the Holy Spirit pure and faultless, fair and immaculate, and during his life he charmed the eyes and hearts of men and is now the glory of the angels. How loving and gentle he is with men, and especially with poor sinners whom he came upon earth to seek out in a visible manner, and whom he still seeks in an invisible manner every day.
[7. He continues to be gentle in heaven]
- Do you think that Jesus, now that he is triumphant and glorious, is any the less loving and condescending? On the contrary, his glory, as it were, perfects his kindness. He wishes to appear forgiving rather than majestic, to show the riches of his mercy rather than the gold of his glory.
- Read the accounts of his apparitions and you will see that when Wisdom incarnate and glorified showed himself to his friends, he did not appear accompanied by thunder and lightning but in a kindly and gentle manner. He did not assume the majesty of a King or of the Lord of hosts, but the tenderness of a spouse and the kindliness of a friend. On some occasions he has shown himself in the Blessed Sacrament, but I cannot remember having read that he ever did so otherwise than in the form of a gentle and beautiful child.
- Not long ago an unhappy man, enraged because he had lost all his money at gambling, drew his sword against heaven, blaming our Lord for the loss of his money. Then, instead of thunderbolts and fiery darts falling upon this man, there came fluttering down from the sky a little piece of paper. Quite taken aback, he caught the paper, opened it and read, “O God, have mercy on me.” The sword fell from his hands, and, stirred to the depths of his heart, he fell on his knees and begged for mercy.
- St Denis the Areopagite relates that a certain bishop, Carpas by name, had, after a great deal of trouble, converted a pagan. On hearing afterwards that a fellow-pagan had lost no time in making the new convert abjure the faith, Carpas earnestly prayed to God all night to wreak vengeance and punishment upon the guilty one for his attack on the supreme authority of God. Suddenly, when his fervour and his entreaties were reaching their peak, he saw the earth opening and on the brink of hell he saw the apostate and the pagan whom the demons were trying to drag into the abyss. Then lifting up his eyes, he saw the heavens open and Jesus Christ accompanied by a multitude of angels coming to him and saying, “Carpas, you asked me for vengeance, but you do not know me. You do not realise what you are asking for, nor what sinners have cost me. Why do you want me to condemn them? I love them so much that if it were necessary I would be ready to die again for each one of them.” Then our Lord approached Carpas, and, uncovering his shoulders, said to him, “Carpas, if you want to take vengeance, strike me rather than these poor sinners.”
- With this knowledge of eternal Wisdom, shall we not love him who has loved us and still loves us more than his own life; and whose beauty and meekness surpass all that is loveliest and most attractive in heaven and on earth?
- We read in the life of Blessed Henry Suso that one day the eternal Wisdom, whom he so ardently desired, appeared to him. It happened in this way. Our Lord appeared in human form surrounded by a bright transparent cloud and seated upon a throne of ivory. A brightness like the rays of the sun at noonday radiated from his eyes and face. The crown he wore signified eternity; his robe blessedness; his word meekness; his embrace the fullness of bliss possessed by all the blessed. Henry contemplated this spectacle of the divine Wisdom. What surprised him most was to see Jesus at one moment appearing as a young maiden of incomparable heavenly and earthly beauty and, at the next moment, appearing as a young man who, judging from his face, would seem to have espoused all that is beautiful in God’s creation. Sometimes he saw him raise his head higher than the heavens and at the same time tread the chasms of the earth. Sometimes he looked wholly majestic and at other times condescending, gentle, meek and full of tenderness for those who came to him. Then he turned to Henry and said with a smile, “My son, give me your heart” (Prov. 23:26). At once Henry threw himself at his feet and offered him for all time the gift of his heart. Following the example of this holy man, let us offer eternal Wisdom for all time the gift of our heart. That is all he asks for.
Book link: Love of Eternal Wisdom
Today is the first Friday of the month which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Devotion to the Sacred Heart