by Fr. Benedict Solomon, O.Praem.
We begin Advent, a preparation for the celebration of Christmas, where God humbled Himself and took the form of a man. And our model for Advent is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is known in a special way for being meek.
Meekness is the virtue which controls anger in our dealings with others. It is about seeing the big picture all the time. The meek person sees people and events as God sees them — he considers the person’s intentions, their past; he considers the current situation and possible conflict and its importance in reference to God’s will and the salvation of all involved. This meek person then makes a decision to be merciful and to respond meekly.
But meekness isn’t about being passive, it is about actively showing mercy. Meekness has nothing to do with fear. The meek do not run from confrontation; instead, they meet it with a free response. Meekness requires largeness of heart, large enough to endure being as helpless as a baby, large enough to endure mockery, spitting, and dying on a cross. All for the greater good that comes from it.
When Mary searched three days for Jesus, she was met without an apology. Jesus did not give her a hug and say I’m so sorry. Most people would have felt that they were being treated as though they didn’t matter, as though their feelings weren’t important. But Mary withheld a rebuke, and pondered.
Meekness requires magnanimity, greatness — because the meek end conflicts, and soften the anger and wrath of others. The meek person isn’t the one who pretends not to be upset but then with a pleasant voice speaks words calculated to insult. Nor are the meek passive aggressive; they are mature. They identify themselves with Christ who said, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and humble of heart.”
Meekness brings life. Consider the man who is ready to retaliate at the least perception of a wrong done to him. Touchiness is a principle of action for him. He is overwhelmed with the continual wrongs that must be avenged.
People have to walk carefully around him, and watch what they say.
Then consider the person who, like God, is slow to anger and abundant in mercy. He is free; he is not restrained or moved by fear or anger. Meekness opens the way for clearness of thought and action.
He can ask himself: Do I need to respond to this insult? Maybe not.
Does this act of disobedience need to be punished? Probably, but not right now.
Would others excuse or even applaud me for returning an angry word for angry word? Yes, but what good would it do?
Is it worth it to win an argument but lose a friend?
The meek shall inherit the earth because they are the only ones great enough for it.
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