Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Essence of Meekness


As in, "the gentle will inherit the Earth."

Why would Christ say this? Is history not filled with the triumphs of the ferocious?

Yes. But throughout history, unrecorded and forgotten, the legions of the gentle lived and let live.

Glimpses illustrate this. Monks that followed the Rule preserved the cultural hegemony of the fallen Roman Empire. Our civilization lives because of the gentle.

Danielle Bean reflects on the deep truth of gentleness, or meekness:

“Keep up, girls!” I shouted over my shoulder as Raphael shrieked and made mad swipes at the contents of other shoppers’ carts.

Of course there were long lines at every register. I found what looked to be the shortest one with the smallest quantity of breakable merchandise on display and tried to maneuver my cart into line.
A childless threesome cut me off. I said nothing. The meek shall inherit the earth, right? I thought of a college professor I had who liked to twist that to “The meek shall inherit the dirt.”

Such is the paradox of Christian thinking. To be meek is to have no illusions of our own grandeur. To be meek is to recognize all human greatness as God’s alone instead of our own. To be meek is to understand that each of us, without God, is nothing. Never mind inheriting the earth — on our own, each of us is dirt. But it is through our meekness that we open ourselves up to receiving greatness — the inheritance of eternal happiness that comes only from God.

Besides, accepting the dirt in the meantime is not without its consolations. As I stood there in that register line, I held tight to my tantruming toddler, thanked God that my newborn was still somehow sleeping, and gritted my teeth for the long wait ahead.
It was then that God sent me an angel. In the form of a Wal-you-know-where cashier. She came up behind me and said quietly, “I am about to open Register 10.”

The threesome heard her. They made anxious gestures in her direction and gathered their purchases. “Register 10?” they said. “You’re opening Register 10?”

“Actually,” my angel smiled at them as she waved me toward her register, “I was speaking to this lady right here.” Sweet justice!
Why do the meek inherit the earth? Simple: Christ himself is the essence of gentleness:
15 "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, 16 and I will give you rest.
17 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

When we're gentle, we experience the gentle mercy of God, sooner or later. What else should we expect as his children?

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