Does meekness equate to being a Christian doormat? Absolutely, not. Instead Christ exhibits meekness as strength with a tender touch. This word has been misconstrued and turned into a negative in our modern era, because we don’t understand what we reject.
What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Where does the idea come from?
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness) and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
The Greek language is much more precise than the English language. Words capture a deeper and specific meaning than English words. For example, in English love means a wide variety of types and conditions of love defined by one word. In Greek, four- six different words capture different types and conditions of love: storge, philia, eros, and agape. The same principal applies to the term “meekness” (gentleness).
The apostle Paul uses praotes or prautes— and “meekness” is the closest translation from the Greek. What does meekness mean? To be meek means yielded, teachable, responsive, humble, gentle, patient under suffering, and respectful in our relationships with God and with others. Basically. meekness is an orientation towards God and others and not on ourselves. Meekness is quiet strength- a spiritual force to be reckoned with.
Jesus Christ himself on the Sermon on the Mount outlined, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) and “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Matthew 11:29) Meekness is an attribute of Christ- an attribute of Christian behavior. The meek and humble of heart will find rest. Not a peace of this world but an divine and eternal peace. Meekness is apart of the Christian mission.
How do we cultivate meekness? Most importantly by turning towards Christ in all aspects of our lives and not inwards towards ourselves. Here are some spiritual suggestions:
- Ask for the Guidance & Inspiration of the Holy Spirit! Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Awaken in me the Fire of your Love . . .
- Read the Bible- Start w/ the Gospels and take notice of Jesus’ behavior and other apostles and disciple.
- Reflect on the Beatitudes (Matthew 5)- read and reflect on each individual beatitude and then resolve to practice that Beatitude in your daily life.
- Reflect on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23)- read and reflect on each individual fruit and then resolve to practice that Beatitude in your daily life.
- Ask for the Guidance & Inspiration of the Our Lady! She is a perfect example of meekness and wants to teach you.
- Ask for the Guidance & Inspiration of other Saints and holy persons! Fill your mind and heart with heroic examples of virtue.
Great spiritual ideas, Hannah, but what about some practical suggestions too? Sure. The following suggestions highlight the practice of meekness in daily life.
- Practice Gentleness: in thoughts, words, deeds, and actions. If it ain’t gentle ton’t entertain the thought, don’t speak the words, and don’t commit action.
- Be respectful: Start by Being respectful with the individuals you take for granted the most (family, spouse, loved ones, friends, coworkers, etc.) Usually, this is your family and/or significant other. Use kind and respectful words especially when you don’t want to. Try saying please, thank you, you’re welcome, and excuse me instead of mhmm, hmmm, or other non-verbal grunting.
- Suffer with a smile. When commuting to work and another driver does something irritating, pray for that person. Forgo the largest portion at dinnertime. Restrain yourself from fidgeting in Church. Unite your suffering with Christ’s suffering for the sake of the Church. Speak less and listen more.
- Learn about your faith. Dust off the books collecting dust in a stack by your bed (like mine) and commit to reading at least one chapter per day.Inquire into whether your parish has FORMED or not. Find faith based resources to help you grown and develop your understanding of the Faith.
- Integrate a morning and evening prayer routine into your daily schedule. Leave time for silence. God speaks in the silence.
- Cultivate gratitude! Make sure you thank God for the many blessing in your life and ask Him to help you recognize more fully those blessing. If it helps, make a list daily of 5 things you are grateful for.
- Abstain from having the final say or the first stay in a conversation. Abstain from mean or hateful words. Abstain from cussing, sacrilegious, and indecent words. Abstain from using the Lord’s name in vain or other holy words.
May God bless you and keep you now and always!