Fr. Roy Cimagala
IT’S clearly said. “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Christ, our “way, truth and life,” points to us the crucial qualities we ought to develop in this life that is so full of challenges, with the view of tackling them properly.
It’s meekness and humility. They effectively resemble us with Christ. And with Christ in his meekness and humility, we would be ready to face all the challenges, trials, difficulties, etc., in life. That is the secret.
Christ reassures us. “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” We should not worry too much about life’s vagaries. Precisely when we feel pressured and weighed down, he tells us, “Come to me… and I will give you rest.”
Let us pay attention more to these words than to our human standards and estimation of things that will always consider these qualities as softness or meaningless passivity and defeatism, devoid of fighting spirit.
On the contrary, these words require a lot of strength and forcefulness, for they have to be reconciled also with these words of Christ: “The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” (Mt 11,13)
The violence referred here is not about physical, destructive violence aimed at others, but rather the forcefulness of love, aimed first at oneself before it aimed at others. It is always a forcefulness that is constructive, helpful, patient and understanding, not afraid to suffer and to assume whatever burden would come our way.
That is why Christ refers again to these qualities in the beatitudes: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Mt 5,5) These are intriguing and mysterious words whose veracity and wisdom can be proven in the life of Christ and those of all the saints.
In many instances Christ refers to this divine logic that can appears to us as contradictory. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Mt 16,25)
Still, in another part of the gospel, Christ says: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” (Mt 19, 29)
We need to train ourselves to feel at home with this divine indication that is meant for our redemption. We have to lose the fear of suffering. We have to assume the mind of the sacrificial lamb whose life-offering actually gives all of us eternal life.
All of this would require first of all the grace of God which God himself gives to us abundantly. But we have to learn to correspond to that grace as best as we could. We can start by reining in our emotions and passions, disciplining and purifying them so that they conform to the will and ways of God rather than to ours.
Our anger, for example, can be righteous, but we should not stay long there, because it at best can only react to a specific situation but can blind us to the over-all picture of things.
St. Paul warns us: “Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” (Eph 4,26-27) This warning is applicable to all other emotions. We have to be wary when we become too emotional.
We have to learn to welcome whatever suffering, trial or challenges would come our way, reacting to them in a supernatural way, viewing them from the angle of faith, and tackling them with the spiritual and supernatural means that are made available to us.
Let’s see to it that our psychological life is imbued with faith, hope and charity, so we could find meaning and even joy in these challenges. Our psychological life, an important aspect of our spiritual life, should not be fed and developed by what our feelings and human hunches would tell us.
To be meek and humble would obviously not exempt us from suffering. But if it’s a meekness and humility that we live with Christ, we can manage to find peace and joy in suffering. We will never forget that the passion and death of Christ on the cross led to his—and our—resurrection.
Let’s take advantage of those occasions when we are misunderstood, insulted, mocked and persecuted to deepen these virtues of meekness and humility. Let’s give the other cheek, as Christ himself told us. More than that, we have to love those who do not love us.