“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matt 5: 5).
In his Apostolic Exhortation, Rejoice and Be Glad (Gaudete et Exsultate), in articles 71-74, Pope Francis exhorts us that to become a good Christian it is necessary to do-in your own way what Jesus said in the sermon of the Beatitudes. And that this includes reacting and dealings with people and issues with meekness In a major part, the world has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs and even their way of speaking or dressing. Ultimately, it is the reign of pride and vanity, where each person thinks he or she has the right to dominate others. Nonetheless, impossible as it may seem, Jesus proposes a different way of doing things: the way of meekness. This is what we see him doing with his disciples. It is what we contemplate on his entrance to Jerusalem: “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey” (Matt 21:5; Zech 9:9) Christ says: “Learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29). If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will e nd up drained and weary.
But if we regard the faults and limitations of others with tenderness and meekness, without an air of superiority, we can actually help them and stop wasting our energy on useless complaining. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux tells us that perfect charity consists in putting up with others’ mistakes, and not being scandalized by their faults. Paul speaks of meekness as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gal 5:23). He suggests that, if a wrongful action of one of our brothers or sisters troubles us, we should try to correct them, but “with a spirit of meekness” since “you too could be tempted” (Gal 6:1). Even when we defend our faith and convictions, we are to do so “with meekness” (cf. 1 Pet 3:16). Our enemies too are to be treated with meekness (2 Tim 2:25). In the Church we have often erred by not embracing this demand of God’s word. Meekness is yet another expression of the interior poverty of those who put their trust in God alone. Indeed, in the Bible the same word – anawim – usually refers both to the poor and to the meek. Someone might object: “If I am that meek, they will think that I am an idiot, a fool or a weakling”. At times they may, but so be it.
It is always better to be meek, for then our deepest desires will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, for they will see God’s promises accomplished in their lives. In every situation, the meek put their hope in the Lord, and those who hope for him shall possess the land… and enjoy the fullness of peace (cf. Ps 37:9.11). For his part, the Lord trusts in them: “This is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word” (Is 66:2) React with humble meekness: this is holiness. Listen to the word of the Lord with respect. Wait on the Lord with unshakeable confidence. React with humble meekness and readiness. Here are three characteristics that Pope Francis points out as an essential part of the “lifestyle proposed by Jesus”: meekness. These three characteristics were fully developed in St. Joseph. There were several Popes and Saints who expressed their confidence in facing difficult times, or important challenges, knowing that they could count on the “patronage” and “example” of Saint Joseph. Let’s look at some: Pope Pius XII: Stay with us, Saint Joseph, in our times of prosperity, when everything invites us to enjoy honestly the fruits of our labors; but above all, remain with us and sustain us in the hours of sadness, when it seems that the sky wants to close on us and even the instruments of our work will escape our hands.
St. Joseph Marello: Show us, St. Joseph, the way, sustain us at every step, lead us where Divine Providence wants us to come. Be long or short, good or bad the way, whether or not you see the goal with the human eye, with you, Saint Joseph, we are sure that we always walk well St. John Paul II: I gladly fulfill this pastoral duty so that all may grow in devotion to the Patron of the Universal Church and in love for the Savior whom he served in such an exemplary manner. In this way the whole Christian people not only will turn to St. Joseph with greater fervor and invoke his patronage with trust, but also will always keep before their eyes his humble, mature way of serving and of “taking part in the plan of salvation.” (Redemptoris Custos, 1). Saint John Paul II: At a difficult time in the Church’s history, Pope Pius IX, wishing to place her under the powerful patronage of the holy patriarch Joseph, declared him “Patron of the Catholic Church.
” For Pius IX this was no idle gesture, since by virtue of the sublime dignity which God has granted to his most faithful servant Joseph, the Church, after the Blessed Virgin, his spouse, has always held him in great honor and showered him with praise, having recourse to him amid tribulations. (Redemptoris Custos, 28). St. John Paul II: What are the reasons for such great confidence? Leo XIII explained it in this way: The reasons why St. Joseph must be considered the special patron of the Church, and the Church in turn draws exceeding hope from his care and patronage, chiefly arise from his having been the husband of Mary and the presumed father of Jesus.., Joseph was in his day the lawful and natural guardian, head and defender of the Holy Family…. It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph’s dignity that, in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ. (Redemptoris Custos, 28). It is always better to be meek, for then our deepest desires will be fulfilled. The meek “shall inherit the earth”, for they will see God’s promises accomplished in their lives. In every situation, the meek put their hope in the Lord, and those who hope for him shall possess the land… and enjoy the fullness of peace (cf. Ps 37:9.11). For his part, the Lord trusts in them: This is the one to whom I will look, to the humble and contrite in spirit, who trembles at my word. Practice humble meekness and trust in the Lord, looking at the limits and defects of others with tenderness and meekness.