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Happy Are The Meek II

An extract from 'The First Word: The Lesson of Meekness' in Fulton Sheen's book, The Cross and the Beatitudes: Lessons on Love and Forgiveness:

"THE MEEK PERSON is not one who refuses to fight, nor someone who will never become angry. A meek person is someone who will never do one thing: he will never fight when his conceit is attacked, but only when a principle is at stake. And there is the keynote to the difference of the anger of the violent and the anger of the meek person.

"... For the meek person, not selfishness but righteousness is his guiding principle. He is so [God-]possessed, he never allows his fists to go for an unholy purpose, or in defense of his pride or vanity, or conceit, or because he wants the wealth of another. Only the principles of God's righteousness arouse a meek person. Moses was meek, but he broke the tablets of stone when he found his people were disobeying God.

"Our Lord is Meekness itself, and yet he drove the buyers and sellers from the Temple when they prostituted his Father's House... He is so much master of himself, that he is angry only when holiness is attacked, but never when his Person is attacked. ... That is why he addressed Judas as "friend" when he blistered his lips with a kiss. That is why Our Lord from the cross prays for the forgiveness of his enemies."

"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." -- Matthew 5:5

"Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.' " -- Luke 23:34

"WHAT, THEN, must be our attitude toward the hatred shown to us? It must be the attitude of the Holy Father who asked us to pray for our enemies. It must be the attitude of those Spanish priests who before being shot by their persecutors asked them to kneel down and receive their blessing and their forgiveness. And what is this but a reflection of our Lord's attitude on the Cross: meekness, love and forgiveness?

"What must be our attitude toward the evils of the world? We must possess a strength, a force, and a daring that exposes its errors and goes down to death on the Cross rather than accept the least of its principles of hate.

"... We will not be loved for our meekness, and it will be hard for us not to be angry when our conceit and our pride, and possibly our possessions, are attacked; but there is no escaping the Divine injunction: "Blessed are you when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven"; and "If the world hate you, know that it has hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you"

"... If then we have enemies, let us forgive them. If we suffer unjustly, then we can practice the virtue of charity. If we suffer justly, and we probably do, for we have sins to atone for, then we can practice the virtue of justice.... Be glad and rejoice for their hate. It will harm only our pride, not our character; it will cauterize our conceit, but not blemish our soul -- for the very insult of the world is the consecration of our goodness.

"... Often our enemy is our savior [wow!]; our persecutors is often our redeemer [sure or not?]; our executioners are often our allies [this is beginning to sound like one of my sister's Buddhist adages]; our crucifiers are often our benefactors -- for they reveal what is selfish, base, conceited, and ignoble in us.... To hate them for hating us is weakness. If we go answering hate with hate, how will hate ever end? [True.] ...

"... Is there any way at all to stop that hatred and violence? Yes, on one condition, and that is if one man ... who is struck on his right cheek, instead of striking his neighbour, turns and offers to the one who struck him his left cheek (Matthew 5:39) .... That is not weakness; it is strength -- the strength that makes us masters of ourselves and the conquerors of hate.

"If you doubt it, try it some time to see how much strength it takes. It took so much strength that only Divinity's cry of forgiveness could overcome the hatred of those who crucify.... [If you want to get rid of your enemies,] there is but one way to do it: Love them!"

(See also Happy Are The Meek.)

by tree#138680 on Sun Nov 07 04 11:16 am | profile



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