Growing in Meekness

Meekness, or forgiveness, is associated with the beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Meekness is not weakness. It is a submission to God, motivated by love.

Meekness combats the sin of anger in our lives. We know that Jesus was totally submissive to the will of the Father, and was never given to sinful anger, as we see in the Scriptures. This is the kind of meekness that we need to aspire to.

What is meekness?

Meekness is a virtue that moderates anger and controls resentment toward others. It is finding strength through submission to God. Meekness helps us to keep our cool and remain ourselves in the midst of adversity.

Living with meekness

When we forgive and demonstrate meekness toward people or situations that may make us angry, God promises that He will forgive us, too.  Remember the words of the Our Father: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Meekness, or forgiveness, can be a hard virtue to practice, when we are tempted to hold grudges or give in to unjust anger. But if we can learn how to temper this temptation, we reap the wonderful promises of God.

Three ideas to help you grow in meekness

  1. Find your peace verse. In other words, learn one of the many Scripture verses that bring you peace (the Psalms are a great place to look) and recite it to yourself when you are faced with a situation that could lead you to anger. This short prayerful reminder can work wonders in keeping you calm.
  2. Be quick to forgive. Practice resisting the urge to hold grudges by being quick to forgive those who hurt you. Learning how to quickly forgive those in your own home can be a great way to grow in meekness, since sometimes it is hardest to forgive those closest to us.
  3. Go to Confession regularly. Make sure you get to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as possible. We recommend once a month, or however often your spiritual director recommends. 

What do the experts say?

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” –Colossians 3:12-13

“With all humility and meekness, with patience, [support] one another in charity.” –Ephesians 4:2

“Nothing is more powerful than meekness. For as fire is extinguished by water, so a mind inflated by anger is subdued by meekness.” –St. John Chrysostom

“When we have to reply to anyone who has insulted us, we should be careful to do it always with meekness. A soft answer extinguishes the fire of wrath. If we feel ourselves angry, it is better for us to be silent, because we should speak amiss; when we become tranquil, we shall see that all our words were culpable.” –Saint Alphonsus Liguori