Downward Ascent 3: Almighty Meekness
‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ (Matt. 5:5)
Weeping over one’s poverty is a gift. The contrite heart cries. Consequences of sin in our own lives and in persons we love reduce us to grief. Yet for that grief to become good, raised from the ‘worldly sorrow that brings forth death’ (2 Cor 7:10), we must surrender to Jesus. He bears our affliction and transports us to His Kingdom. There, divine comfort coaxes us to exchange rags for riches. The King defines us now.
The result is meekness. When one finally lets go of how (s)he will manage the unbearable weight of sin (our own, another’s, the world’s!), God becomes who He is and we become who we are. The meek know the difference: humans are small subjects of a great Kingdom. Our littleness frees us ‘to entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly’ (1 Pet. 2:23). We can drop our stones of judgment and rest in the One who makes all things new, beginning with ourselves.
Any proper self-assessment I possess, any real quality of meekness, has resulted from a type of ‘reduction.’ I can go a long way on my own passion. It has taken bitter disappointments to level and reduce me to the Meek One. Dying again, submitting my hard husk to Him, has slowed and sweetened my heart. God claims the trauma for Kingdom purposes and releases seeds from it that later bear fruit.
Hinting at this fruit, a colleague once remarked: ‘I like you better when you’re beaten up.’ What he meant was: ‘I like you better when you are reduced to Jesus.’ He likes meekness, those who live in apparent reliance upon the Almighty One.
I witnessed vividly this meekness during a healing prayer time. Frustrated by a blind-spot in the one receiving prayer, my first inclination was to confront the block directly. Led by the Spirit, my co-laborer simply suggested to the receiver: ‘Why don’t you pray and ask the Father about that?’ In meekness, my colleague gave God room to meet this one. The Almighty acted, without a word from me.
Meekness gives Jesus room to be God in our lives and in the lives of those we love. The meek pray more and talk less; they trust the King.
Jesus trust in His Father made Him lowly and meek. The Son relied upon Father’s strong shoulders and tender heart. Similarly, Jesus invites us in our weariness and clutter to unburden ourselves. How? He is meek and lowly (Matt. 11: 28-30) yet Almighty. He stretches out His arms and provides a safe place for us to be small and to rest. That is meekness, the ground on which we the created commune with the Creator and so become mighty in His image.
Fitting: we who are becoming meek like Him shall inherit His earth.
‘Jesus gave me to know the depth of His meekness and humility and to understand that He clearly demanded the same of me.’ St. Faustina
Prayer for Monday, March 17th: ‘Father, free us from the ‘worldly sorrow that brings forth death.’ We do not want to be preoccupied with morbid ideas of self and others. Turn our poverty and our grief towards You. Free us to be small objects of Almighty Love. Elevate our view with Your eyes; envelope us with Your arms of love.’
Prayer for Tuesday, March 18th: ‘Father, forgive us for bearing burdens alone. We confess the temptation to usurp Your divine shoulders and perfect judgment. Show us our size. We give to you the unfinished business in our lives, including the mess we see others making of their lives. We entrust them to You. Reduce us to almighty meekness.’
Prayer for Wednesday, March 19th: ‘Father, we ask for closer communion with You in this Lenten time. In this winter of sin, prepare us for spring by showing us the clutter of our hearts. We welcome Your invitation; we return to You. May we regain strength through solitude and trust. Teach us to pray more and talk less. Make us meek as You are meek.’