For me the example of this gentleness is the person of Jesus Christ. Although Jesus had his flareups and could be quite firm – as when the disciples slept while he was prayer the night he was arrested, or when the merchants made a mockery of the temple – Jesus was also very compassionate and gentle. Remember how he received the sick, the hungry, the everyday person he encountered. Consider how he treated his Mother Mary.
We get caught up in our hard qualities of jealousy, bitterness, resentment, vanity, etc., which, as Keating reminds us, lead us nowhere. In prayer God can transform and redeem those challenging experiences, so we can learn from them. We can leave the negativity they bring and the hardness that can envelope us behind.
Trust in the Holy Spirit! Prayer will free us to live gently with ourselves and with others. It will help us to serve others with a “gentle and humble heart.” (Matt: 11:19)