By Kristen M. Soley
The Second Beatitude - Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. (Verse 4)
Merriam-Webster defines meek as, “enduring injury with patience and without resentment.” In the Bible, it translates Latin mansuetus or "submissive". 1
Again, Reverend Ahern, in the book Eight Happy Men, clarifies the meaning of meekness:
The gift of the Holy Ghost called piety is a quality of happiness enabling a man to control his love of himself. Christ’s whole plan for man’s happiness is for man to change the direction of his most Godlike quality, love, from self to love of God through love and service of his neighbor.
Meekness and humility, though related, must not be confused. Humility is one’s attitude under duress toward one’s neighbor. Meekness is the safety catch on the trigger of self-conceit or self-opinion. In a word, in life’s situations humility watches over one’s attitude toward his neighbor; meekness takes care of self. Meekness, then, is gentle, not provoked, indulgent of others, but always watchful over self-opinion. Then, no matter what is said, done, or thought by others, meekness controls the personal reaction, anger, etc., and arouses the power of the soul only when a principle of God is attacked. 2
St. Thomas teaches, “Meekness then moderates the passion of anger according to the dictates of reason, and calms the desire for revenge. It restrains one from wanting to Inflict Injury for Injury. It enables one, relying on the Father's Will, to remain Tranquil in the face of Wrongs done him/her.” Saint Paul stressed the need of this Virtue in his Letter to the Thessalonians: "See that none of you repays Evil for Evil, but always seeks to do Good to one another and to all" (1Thessalonians 5:15).” 5
Living out meekness, St. Catherine Laboure was a young and devout nun. She was humble, gentle, and devout. She was granted beautiful visions from our Blessed Mother in which Our Lady asked St. Catherine “to make a medal to promote devotions to the heart of Jesus and his mother.“ 12 After time had passed, the medal was created and distributed. From the medal, many miracles of faith and healing occurred. “Within a few years, the miraculous medal had spread all over the country and it is still being used as an object of devotion and obedience in the faith all over the world to this very day! Saint Catherine led a quiet and humble life of prayers as a Daughter of Charity, caring for the aged and the infirm, and she died at 70 years old in her convent, with no public recognition for herself. Many in the convent did not even know it was Catherine to whom the medal had been revealed. But even from the silent walls of the Rue du Bac Convent, she had managed to spread the love of Christ around her.” 12
To be meek, in the vocation of wife and mother, is then temper our love of self, for the betterment of our neighbor, most often our husband and children. Being meek enough to take loving reproof, even outright criticism without the response of anger or retaliation, rather with humble acceptance. “Be silent when your speech will make another unhappy. Remember, all men search for happiness, or beatitude.” 2 The only time we are to act counter to this is if a principle of God is attacked.
“Be tolerant, for you are a magnet attracting those around you. Act with no hypocrisy or artificiality; mingle the love of your souls with the lives of others. This is controlled love of self’; this is the happiness found in meekness.” 2
2. Eight Happy People, Reverend John J. Ahern
6. Happy are you Poor, Dubay
7. Volume 6, Direction for Our Times – Anne the Lay Apostle
8. Courageous Virtue, Stacy Mitch (A Bible Study on Moral Excellence For Women)
11. The Twenty-Four Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ – Luisa Piccaretta
12. Michele Szekely - http://www.leblogdelabergerie.com/articles/Catherines.htm