Recently, I was challenged to seek meekness in order to find peace in my heart. I think we all have those moments when we speak too much and think too hard to find answers to the difficulties we encounter. I have joked with my family and friends during these moments that “I’m no Therese of Lisieux.” I’m referring to the idea of being meek enough to stop dialogue on an issue where I’m seeking a conclusion or closure on an issue. Although I pray to have the virtue of “The Little Flower,” my humility in these moments has helped me to recognize that I am currently on the journey toward Heaven and in search of daily virtue with God. I know I have a long way to go. I am learning more and more that we are on a moment to moment and day to day journey. Sometimes this conversion of heart is even minute to minute. Prayer is essential to find this meekness. Whether a family discussion gone awry, a rushed phone call or text, meekness is a decision and an openness to God’s presence. It requires us to really believe in the Lord who is present in our lives.
The Power of the World
It’s a battle between “power” and “meekness in our daily lives. We come up against this power throughout our day whether at home, work, or school, and sadly even inside the Church. Just as with any problem, the first step to recognizing a negative issue in our lives is to submit ourselves to God and admit we are weak. I am referring to “power” as a problem because in reality there is no power aside from the Lord’s power which will last forever. God is the true and only source of real power.
When we recognize the problem both in the world and in ourselves, this is a first step to asking our Lord to be the guiding spirit in our lives. We may experience a humbling conversation at home with our family where we must fight to hold back words. Or perhaps at work we want to work through a problem, but authority figures in the work setting won’t allow that to happen. Even within our churches there can be an unhealthy power that needs purification. This may be seen in religious circles, church meetings, the school, and even in some prayer groups. Sad to say, it can happen.
A Story of Recollection in My Life on Humility
Humility is always the key in dealing with these tough situations which humble us. I recall many years back an acquaintance suggested to me that it is only proper to go to Confession outside of your diocese in case the priest “knows who you are.” I had a sense her reasoning was to protect her identity to a point of traveling far away to receive the sacrament. She was very adamant in her dialogue with me that it was improper to seek Confession in your own church or close proximity. I questioned this advice at that time and the conversation still pops in my head once in a while. I did not agree with her, and her reasoning about it sounded a little prideful. The advice did not make sense to me since Confession is “under the seal” where the priest cannot divulge the information shared or your identity. It was a moment of humility for me to keep my mouth shut as she made this statement. The Holy Spirit gave me the understanding to realize that she was not open to hearing what I had to say on the issue. It was a matter of my own humility to let her say her piece and internally have my own opinion without discussion. Lifting a prayer in these kinds of moments is always key. Finding my own meekness by letting the other person have their opinion was humbling at the time. It was also a peaceful place with the Lord to keep my mouth shut. I think God gave me some understanding about humility and meekness through this conversation. Lesson learned: humility is not about appearing “holy” to outsiders or protecting my reputation. Humility is a process where we need God to make it happen through His Spirit.Avoiding the Negativity of Life With God’s Help
Pope Francis made the following statement in a homily in recent times, “This is God’s way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.”
This statement is something to ponder on the topic of finding our own meekness and gaining God’s humility such as in the circumstance I dealt with my acquaintance many years ago. It is stating that “there can be no humility without humiliation.” Christ knew humiliation well — better than we can imagine. We may have to go through some humiliation in life, and it is not easy. It helps to know we have a God who DOES understand. I learned from the encounter with my acquaintance that there is something very humbling about standing in line for Confession, no matter which church we chose to go to receive the sacrament. Admitting our sins and getting cleansed with the Lord is powerful and healing.
The negativity of life can creep into our lives easily if we let it even as we try our very best to stay humble. Prayer is the tool which helps us not to fall into the trap of seeing everything as looking grim. Once in a while within the “religious world” we may encounter an unhealthy negativity and a pride about our religiosity. Sometimes we can become prideful about our knowledge of the Church and our adherence to its laws. Group discussions about how people need to “get with the program” and become more like us sadly happen on occasion. We have to be mindful that not a moment goes by in our lives that we don’t need God. We are all sinners.
I have been in discussions where we have seemed to lost our sense of gratitude that by the grace of God we are living out our faith and salvation daily. During these moments where I feel a sense of condemnation of others, I excuse myself not to get caught up in negativity. At these times I lift up the Hail Mary. I find something else to do in my space at the time. In evangelizing those outside of the Church our best approach will be love, education about the faith and prayer. Creating open dialogue about the wonderful truths of our faith is very good. Love will be the key to open the door to those who feel excluded from our Church circles. Our negative words or judgments may alienate those we wish to bring into the Church. God’s mercy will guide us to be loving as we speak words of hope, kindness and true happiness in Christ!
Allowing the Lord to Help us be Meek
Becoming meeker may even mean opening ourselves up to letting others inside our lives in a proper way. Friendships may develop with new people which God will present to us. He is our guide. Humility comes when we stop worrying about the exterior or our lives and who we are in front of our congregation and the Church and admit to ourselves that we are sinners. We need the gifts the Church offers us. Without these gifts in our lives, we would lack the strength and humility to live rightly. We have been given something great in the sacraments of the Church and the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
Making it Real!
Making faith real and making the virtues real is something we need to believe deep in our hearts. We may walk into a quiet church or adoration chapel and be focused on “time with God.” Then LIFE happens; we get distracted. Joyously I say this. Life is God’s gift to us no matter how “crazy” life can become. It is a happy thing to ponder that our faith is always there. Yes, we will have crosses and worries. Yes, we will have pain and sadness. Being Catholic truly IS about the GREAT news of our faith which is universal. Holy Mother Church is our greatest blessing and the gifts of our sacraments. We may have sad prayer intentions and worries in our hearts, but the end of the story with our Lord will be joyous. Staying close to Jesus and His Church and continued daily conversion is what it’s all about. The sacraments make it real for us since they are tangible and right from God.
Praying for Meekness: Finding Strength in the Sacraments
Power is passing. Power will not bring us joy. Whether the “power” is at home, work, or anywhere in our lives, God’s meekness is there for us. He is there in the quiet of our hearts as we wait to respond to the powerful people of our lives. Even when we ourselves recognize that we are striving for power in some form, God will lead us back. Our Lady, Our Lord and the angels and saints are on our side there to help. Let us be joyous and even “positive” in our disposition about our faith. We will attract many people as we become meeker and do our best to avoid the power the world has to offer. We must ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. Without the Church and the sacraments of our faith, we cannot do this. We turn to Jesus to help us stay on the course of meekness and humility and even humiliation. We can be confident God will be with us through all the tough times. My prayers will be with you.
Copyright 2017 Anne DeSantis