Friday, July 4, 2008

On Meekness...

”Who is the meek? Whose imitator is he? He is not the imitator of Angels nor of Archangels, though they are most mild, and full of every virtue, but of the Lord of the universe. Paul would have us to imitate the meekness of God, that by exhibiting to us His dignity, we might be convinced that all who suffer contempt, bear contumely, or endure any other evil with mildness, controlling their anger, are imitators of God.”
-Saint John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Though Jesus is the absolute Lord of all hearts, yet what resistance does He not suffer from us against the illuminations of His grace? What rebellions against His holy inspirations? And although He is obliged to withdraw Himself from those who are unwilling to walk according to His way, yet He ceases not to return after a while and to renew His holy inspirations and most loving invitations.”
-Saint Francis of Sales, Doctor of the Church

”Go and exhort men to penance for the remission of their sins and for peace. You will find some among the faithful, mild and good, who will receive you with pleasure, and willingly listen to you; others, on the contrary, without religion, proud and violent, will censure you, and be very hostile to you; but make up your minds to bear all this with humble patience and let nothing alarm you. Be patient in tribulations, fervent in prayer, and fearless in labor.”
-Saint Francis of Assisi

”If you desire to labor with fruit for the conversion of souls, it behooves you to mix the balm of gentleness with the strong wine of your zeal, to the end that the latter be not too ardent, but benign, pacific, long-suffering and full of compassion. For the natural character of men is such that, when treated with harshness, it becomes still more hardened, whereas mildness soon softens it. Moreover we ought to remember that Jesus Christ came to bless men of good will, and if we give up our own will to His guidance, we may be sure that He will render it fruitful.”
-Saint Francis of Sales, Doctor of the Church

”Let us force ourselves to be affectionate, gentle, and humble in our intercourse with all, especially with those whom God has given us as our companions, such, for instance, as those of our household. And never let us consent to be of the number of those who, out of their own house, appear like Angels, but are more like devils at home.”
-Saint Francis of Sales, Doctor of the Church

”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, Doctor of the Church

”We should also use meekness toward ourselves when we have committed a fault. To be in a passion with ourselves after a fault, is not humility but pride; it is depressing to acknowledge that we are weak and miserable creatures. Saint Teresa said, that all humility which disturbs the soul does not proceed from God, but the devil. To be angry with ourselves, after the commission of sin, is a greater fault than the former; a fault which brings many others in its train; such as the omission of our usual devotions, of prayer, of Communion, or the imperfect performance of them. Saint Aloysius Gonzaga said that the devil fishes in troubled waters. When the soul is in trouble, it has but a weak knowledge of God and its duty. When we have committed a fault, let us address God with humility and confidence and ask His pardon; saying to Him, with Saint Catherine of Genoa: "O Lord, these are the fruits of my garden. I love Thee with my whole heart. I have offended Thee; I am sorry for it, and will never do so again. Grant me Thy holy grace.".
-Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church

”We must imitate the forbearance of God. Oh, how great is God's forbearance! He endures patiently the temples of the profane men who outrage His Majesty; He endures idols and sacrilegious ceremonies; He makes the sun to shine on the evil and upon the good, and His rain descend upon the just and upon the unjust; He makes the elements serve all men alike, the impious as well as the good; the winds blow, the springs burst forth, the harvests swell with waving corn, the grapes ripen, the trees cover themselves with fruit, the forests put on thick foliage, the meadows adorn themselves with the enamel of flowers. God delays vengeance, and patiently waits, that man may correct himself and return to his Saviour. Such is the forbearance of the Eternal Father, and similar to it was that of the Son, for all the actions of Jesus Christ were characterized by patience and by that Divine evenness of soul of which nothing could disturb the tranquility.”
-Saint Cyprian, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Mildness is a virtue, in which principally consists nobility of soul. And for this reason it is that lovers of the world often fail in mildness, because they are not possessed of that nobility, or only in a very scanty and imperfect degree. If they are not the first to use insulting and uncourteous terms, at least when they are attacked by others they resent it with the utmost indignation, giving in return language doubly abusive, and thus showing by their vengeance that they have an ignoble disposition. The servants of God, on the other hand, whether provoked by word or work, by keeping themselves tranquil and peaceful, evince a perfect nobleness of soul.”
-Saint Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church

”Many appear full of mildness and sweetness as long as everything goes their own way; but the moment any contradiction or adversity arises, they are in a flame, and begin to rage like a burning mountain. Such people as these are like red-hot coals hidden under ashes. This is not the mildness which Our Lord undertook to teach us in order to make us like unto Himself.”
-Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

”We ought to be like lilies in the midst of thorns, which, however they be pricked and pierced, never lose their sweet and gentle fragrance.”
-Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Meekness, the greatest of virtues, is reckoned among the beatitudes. "Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land." For that blessed land, the heavenly Jerusalem, is not the spoil of warriors who have conquered, but the hoped-for inheritance of the meek, who patiently endure the evils of this life.”
-Saint Basil the Great, Father and Doctor of the Church

”It is better not to allow anger, however just and reasonable, to enter at all, than to admit it in ever so slight a degree; once admitted, it will not be easily expelled, for, though at first but a small plant, it will immediately grow into a large tree.”
-Saint Augustine, Father and Doctor of the Church

”When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent. Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings. O holy silence, rich in great virtues! O holy silence, which is a key of gold, keeping in safety the great treasure of holy virtues!”
-Saint Paul of the Cross

“In the Christian combat, not the striker, as in the Olympic contests, but he who is struck, wins the crown. This is the law in the celestial theatre, where the Angels are the spectators.”
-Saint John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church

”It is better to err by excess of mercy than by excess of severity. . .Wilt thou become a Saint? Be severe to thyself but kind to others.”
-Saint John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Nothing is more powerful than meekness. For as fire is extinguished by water, so a mind inflated by anger is subdued by meekness. By meekness we practice and make known our virtue, and also cause the indignation of our brother to cease, and deliver his mind from perturbation.”
-Saint John Chrysostom, Father and Doctor of the Church

”Beware not to disturb yourself, nor to be irritated on account of the defects of others, for it would be folly, because you saw a man throw himself into a pit, to throw yourself into another.”
-Saint Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church

”If, on a rare occasion, it is necessary to speak with some severity in order to make a grievous crime felt, we should always, at the conclusion of the rebuke, add some kind words. We must heal wounds, as the Samaritan did, with wine and oil. But as oil floats above all other liquors, so meekness should predominate in all our actions.”
-Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church

”Above all things we should be meek toward our enemies. We must overcome hatred by love, and persecution by meekness. It was thus the Saints acted, and in this manner they conciliated the regard of their bitterest enemies.”
-Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church

”It is better to have to give an account to God for too much mercy than for too much severity.”
-Saint Antoninus

”There are two methods to subdue anger. First, that before a person undertakes to act, he places before his mind the contumelies and sufferings which he will likely encounter, and, by reflecting on the shame borne by our Saviour, prepares himself to bear them patiently. Secondly, that when we behold the excesses of others, we direct our thoughts to our own excesses, by which we offend others. This consideration of our own faults will lead us to excuse those of others. For a person who piously considers that he also has something which others must bear patiently in him will be easily disposed to bear patiently injuries he receives from others.”
-Pope Saint Gregory the Great, Father and Doctor of the Church

”The morning light shines before the sun, so does meekness precede humility. Meekness is that unalterable condition of the soul in which it remains always the same in praise as in blame, without confusion, without disturbance, and without vexation.”
-Saint John Climacus

”Meekness aids obedience, and is a quality of the Angels. A meek soul is enlightened by the spirit of discernment, and is the seat of simplicity. The simple soul is far removed from all vain, curious, and perverse thoughts; it goes directly and sincerely to God, as a scholar to his master.”
-Saint John Climacus

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