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BIBLE STUDY: BLESSED ARE THE MEEK: FOR THEY SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH (Mt 5:5)

In today’s highly competitive world the virtue of meekness carries a very low rating

“In today’s highly competitive world the virtue of meekness carries a very low rating. The disesteem which many people have for meekness probably stems from their misunderstanding of its nature. If asked to describe a meek person, the average individual would answer, ‘A namby-pamby sort with no spirit. The kind who never stands up for his rights and who is everybody’s doormat.’

It takes a person of strong character to be genuinely meek

This popular concept of meekness is a very mistaken one. The truth is that it takes a person of strong character to be genuinely meek, because the essence of meekness is self-control. A meek person is one who is complete master of his temper and has immense patience toward the stupidity, the weakness and even the malice of other people.

The don’t-cross-me type of person really is a very insecure individual

Psychologists tell us that the easily irritated, don’t-cross-me type of person really is a very insecure individual. His angry reaction to contradiction or annoyance is a defence against his inner feeling of uncertainty concerning his own basic worth. Only a man (or woman) who has a wholesome confidence in his ability to deal with the demands of life is able to remain calm when crossed or contradicted or frustrated. Such a person has no need to shout and smash in order to maintain his own self-respect.

The truly meek man is anything but a weakling

The truly meek man is anything but a weakling. Yet, he is a humble person, inasmuch as he does not have an inflated sense of his own importance in God’s scheme of things. With humility he has a sense of humour, which means the wonderful gift of being able to laugh at himself. He has a sense of proportion, too, and understands that charity is much more important than self-vindication, that victory over self is much more significant than victory over another. The self-assertive, domineering person may win more battles than the meek man, but it is the meek man who wins the war.

How can I tell whether I possess the virtue of meekness?

If I wish to know whether I possess the virtue of meekness, there are a few pertinent questions which I can ask myself. For example, when an argument develops, do I raise my voice and feel a compulsion to prove myself right? Am I sharply critical of the mistakes of others, particularly when those mistakes inconvenience me? Do I react angrily to opposition? Am I irritable and snappish when others question my competency or the wisdom of my decisions? Do I brood unhappily over criticisms directed against me or go into a sullen pout when blocked from doing something I want to do? If I have to answer, ‘Yes, usually,’ to any of these questions, then I still am weak in the virtue of meekness.

Victory over self is much more significant than victory over another

There will be times, of course, when circumstances make it necessary for us to administer a correction to another person and to do so with firmness. However, firmness – even adamant firmness – is not incompatible with meekness. It is quite possible to be firm and still be gentle. In fact, the quiet firmness of the meek is likely to be much more effective than the thundering of the autocrat.

Jesus promises eternal life to those who cultivate meekness

No one is perfect, and even a meek person may have his bad moments in times of fatigue and stress. The great difference here between the meek and the non-meek is that the meek man feels ashamed of himself after an outburst of temper and is quick to make amends if his sharpness has hurt another. The self-assertive person, on the other hand, tells himself that his outburst was fully warranted. He must justify himself in his own mind to protect himself against his inner insecurity.

In view of the many ancillary virtues (humility, patience, charity, self-control) involved in the practice of meekness, it is no wonder that Jesus promises eternal life to those who cultivate this virtue. When Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth,’ He was not promising world domination to the man of quiet strength. Jesus was saying, in poetic imagery, that the meek shall possess all things forever – which is heaven.

Meekness does not come easy. But, in terms of happiness here as well as hereafter, its development is well worth the effort.”

– Fr. Leo J. Trese, One Step Enough, 1966

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WHO ARE THE POOR IN SPIRIT?

BEATI PAUPERES SPIRITU

“‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.

The poor in spirit are all those whose hearts are free from attachment to the things of earth, aspire only to the possession of God. They are poor, but even in this life, how great are their riches, and how perfect their contentment. Thus our Saviour declares, not that the kingdom of heaven shall belong to them sooner or later, but that it belongs to them now. ‘Ipsorum est’. ‘It is theirs’. In truth, God loads them with all sorts of heavenly blessings, and even if they were wanting in all the things of this world, they would experience no want with regard to the things of the soul.

The rich [those who love material things and money], on the contrary, in spite of their abundance, are poor and unhappy, because earthly goods, far from quenching their thirst, serve but to increase it. The more they possess, the more they wish to possess. But since the desires of their heart cannot be satisfied, they are reduced to the depths of unhappiness.

Blessed is he who wishes for God alone, and who says with Saint Paul: ‘Let the rich abound in delights, and let kings place their happiness in splendour and power; as for me, my riches, my happiness, my glory is Jesus Christ!’ Happy is he who cries out with David: ‘What do I desire in heaven or on earth, save thee, O God of my heart, and my portion for ever!’

PRAYER:

Behold me, O Lord, abandoned entirely to thy good pleasure. Indeed I wish for nothing but thee, and thou knowest better than I what is necessary for my soul, for my happiness, for my safety. Dispose of me, as it pleases thee. I love thee, and I only ask from thee the grace to love thee always.”
(S. Alph. Pious Reflections) – Reflections, Laverty & Sons (publishers), Leeds, 1905

 

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PRAYER TO MARY, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH

O Blessed Virgin Mary,
the basic reason why you are Mother of the Church
is that you are the Mother of God
and the associate of Christ in His saving work.
Another reason is that you shine as the model of virtues
for the whole community of the elect.
You exemplified in your own life
the beatitudes preached by your Divine Son.
Hence, you are the perfect model
for the imitation of Christ
on the part of all human beings.

Obtain for us the graces we need
to follow your example.
Teach us to practise the beatitudes proper to our state
and to rejoice in being known as your children
who are members of the Church of God.
Let us work for the unity of the Church
which your Son desired on earth
and which you now pray for in heaven.
Lead the whole human race
to acknowledge Christ Jesus, the one true Saviour.
Drive from it all the calamities provoked by sin,
and bring it that peace which consists
in truth, justice, liberty, and love.
Amen.

 

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