Thought for the Day – 29 November – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Blessedness of the Meek
“Charity, as St Thomas Aquinas says, is the source of all the virtues (Summa Theologiae, II-II, q 157, a 2).
This includes meekness, or that quality of moderation by which a Christian ought to govern his passions, especially anger and keep them subject to the control of reason.
This virtue is opposed to pride and to vanity, in that these passions, when wounded, culminate in outbursts of anger and in quests for revenge.
Meekness is not simply a form of apathy or of good natured affability.
On the contrary, it is based both on humility and on fortitude.
It feels insults and ingratitude and does not remove the suffering which accompanies them but it demands the heroism of silence and of charitable behaviour towards those who hurt us.
For this reason it is not identical with weakness but, requires spiritual fortitude because, it makes a man complete master of himself (Cf Summa Theologiae II-II, 1 157 a 4).
Anger is not always sinful, as the Holy Spirit indicates (Ps 4-5).
If it remains subject to the control of reason and of charity, indeed, it is only a reaction against evil and can exist alongside Christian meekness.
It is fatal, however, to allow anger to become blind and tyrannical, for it will then betray a man into hatred and vengefulness.
It will grow noisy and vulgar, give scandal to others and leave, in the soul, a sense of restlessness and of vexation (Cf St Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Bk III, ch 9).
“If the Holy Spirit may be called, the peace of the soul, uncontrolled anger may be called, its disturber. Nothing is more hostile than anger to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us” (St John Climacus Scala Paradisi p 286).
Let us resolve never to allow ourselves to be led away by immoderate anger but, to preserve, at all times, our meekness and peace of soul.”