One of the most difficult things I had to do in soccer was take goal kicks. I was often the one to take these kicks because I was one of the few guys who could kick past midfield. In addition, I was fairly accurate, so thus it became important that I do a good job. One of the most difficult parts of kicking goal kicks is finding the sweet spot. If you kick the ball too hard, then it tends to lose accuracy and distance. If you kick the ball too soft, it likewise fails to reach its target.

The key was to have a gentle strength. To swing through the ball with steadiness and firmness, but without killing it. We need the same kind of gentle strength in the spiritual life. As we learn to navigate the darkness of the human heart, we will soon begin to discover grave disorders which can destroy our inner stillness. When confronted with these disorders, we can sometimes become either too hard on ourselves or too dismissive and soft. The goal is to find the sweet spot.

In this way, we must learn to experience and gaze upon the disorders of the heart with great courage and patience. As we look at them without judgment or fear, these disorders begin to lose their power over us, and in time they become less and less intimidating. As this takes place, we learn to recognize and reject the attacks of the enemy with a purified anger, one which flows from inner peace. All of this is done with a gentle strength in which we learn to walk in harmony with the Lord.

This is the path to greater spiritual freedom. In time, we learn to cooperate with the Lord in perfect self-forgetting whereby we are able to open up to the other in a posture of unconditional love. Our newfound freedom helps us to move beyond the chains of self-consciousness and to embrace the boundless potential of the Holy Spirit. Instead of avoiding challenges in a self-protective stance, we become bold and confident, not in our own resources, but in the power of God.

Today, let us cultivate gentle strength. In all things, let us seek to find the sweet spot of a new life in Christ whereby we can cultivate the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit.