Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Fortunate the Meek ...

A friend noticed my mention of meekness in my review of The Quiet Light last week. The thoughts on meekness came from Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word and it deserves to be more than a brief mention on my part. Here is a longer excerpt.
Matthew 5:5

how fortunate the meek,
for they shall inherit the [promised] land.

The meek, the gentle, the kind: far from implying any attitude of contented passivity, much less the tameness of a cowering dog living in fear of the next beating, the virtue called [Greek word] connotes an ever-vigilant openness, a disposition of goodwill that is always ready to encounter a situation with a view to building it up and re-creating it. It is the same word Matthew will use in 11:29, putting it again in the Lord's mouth: "Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am meek and humble-hearted; and your souls will find relief." ...

Jesus praises an active meekness that does not return evil for evil but that always returns something positive--good for good or, more typically, good for evil. It is not content with a static indifference "in the name of God." The meek imitate Jesus' spiritual activity; they become vessels that transmit the goodness, mercy, and power of God, which Elijah found, not in the storm, but in the barely perceptible breeze. Such Christian meekness rests, not upon constraint and resignation, but upon the freedom of the person who knows he is always and everywhere loved by God. This knowledge liberates from the compulsion and the convention of using the violent means of the world for self-defence and aggression, the despairing struggle to maintain one's "place in the sun." The meek person has found his place in the Heart of God and has no time or interest for any other activity but that of reflecting the sovereign peace of God's nature.

... Jesus shows that the virtue of "meekness" in a special way reflects the nature of God by saying of himself: "I am meek and humble of heart," which is to say, "I have my effect by bestowing the goodness of my Father on the world. I do not fight with the world's weapons, because they are ineffective for the task I must accomplish."
It is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I continually need to ponder the true meaning of meekness. I am not too bad at having goodwill toward others, except when I suddenly feel that I am not being properly appreciated or understood. You get the picture.

Intertwined as it is with being "humble-hearted," true meekness is something I strive for and fail to achieve a lot of the time. It is a balance that I now think of St. Thomas Aquinas when I look for a model to imitate.

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