Life of humbleness & meekness (29)
Pope Shenouda III | 23 March 2012
A meek person is usually kind, quiet, and peaceful.
The meek has a calm voice, and is not quarrelsome, nor provoked, and never breaks off relations with others. It is said about the Lord Christ that, "He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench." (Mt 2: 19, 20) (Isa 42: 2, 3)
He never makes anybody lose hope, nor quenches a smoking flax, seeing that it may be kindled by a wind even after years!
When Elijah the Prophet was fleeing from the face of Queen Jezebel, behold a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice ... (1 Kgs 9: 11, 12) That was God's voice speaking in a low and gentle voice.
A meek person never speaks in a high voice beyond what is reasonable and acceptable. The violent, on the contrary, are always clamorous, and speak with a high and violent and sometimes terrifying voice!
A meek person not only has a gentle voice, but also his looks are gentle.
The meek never stares in the face of anybody nor fixes the glance on anybody. That is why the meek is always on good terms with everybody, for not examining closely their feelings and emotions to know their inner thoughts! Such attempts to know the secrets usually disturb relations.
A person who is not meek, on the contrary, fixes his looks on the eyes of the others while speaking to see how far they are true and how much they conceal, thus doubting everybody.
The Meek always has peaceful relations with the others, not desiring to examine their features or actions, nor scrutinizing or analyzing their deeds to judge them.
When sitting with others for a meal, the meek never looks what or how they eat, what they love most, or how far is their appetite, as if counting the morsels they eat!
That is why the meek does not usually fall in judging other, but always says, "What have I got to do with that? Let me alone? It is none of my business what they do. If the Lord Christ has once said, "Who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" (Lk 2: 14) shall I then interfere in things not of my business? I need not interfere in matters that do not concern me, so I can keep my inner peace.
A meek person is always cheerful and smiling, never frowning or giving an angry look at anybody, and never looking stern or gloomy. The meek has a sweet and lovely smile, and delightful and comforting features. The calm nature of the meek does not allow him to rebuke or scold or behave rudely or reprove, but his words are soft and gentle, especially if he is a clergy or a minister.
The church laws and the teachings of the fathers require the clergy to be cheerful and tolerant, gentle, and not quarrelsome (1 Tim 3: 3). The Biographies of the holy fathers present to us many examples of the loving and gentle face and features that can give peace to people, for a stern face makes people fear even religion itself!
A meek person has inner peace, and never feels roused or upset whatever external causes there may be. The sea and waves may be heaving and the ship swinging in the sea to the right and to the left, yet a firm rock inside the sea is never disturbed, nor the waterfalls shake, however violent the waves may be.
The meek likewise is like a rock or a waterfall that never shakes in the face of the circumstances, but submits to God calmly without confusion, and says with David the Prophet, "Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident." (Ps 27: 3)
Mar Isaac says, [It is easy to move a mountain from its place, but it is not easy to move the meek from his calmness.]
Whatever treatment the meek may face, he never grumbles, complains, or be vexed.
The meek often finds excuse for the others and justifies their actions, not thinking badly of them, as if nothing happened! He also never speaks about being mistreated by the others, nor is grieved within because of that. Even if angry, anger will soon calm down, and grief will never turn into hatred. When some are roused against the meek and address accusations or insults against him, he will not be provoked, or avenge himself or resist evil (Mt 5: 39). He will keep silent and smile innocently in the face of those who rise against him as if nothing has happened! This would make the other person who arose against him feel ashamed of having insulted such a person! Such a meek person sometimes has the nature of a smiling quiet child.
Such a meek person is always far away from wrath, and is longsuffering and patient.
The meek never gets angry neither quickly nor slowly, nor is strongly agitated; is never seen provoked or nervous, but always with calm features. He not only does not get angry, but also does not cause anybody to get angry, and if it happens he remembers the words, "A soft answer turns away wrath." (Prov 15: 1) He is longsuffering and patient, and being in God's image (Gen 1: 26, 27), he is like Him bears and suffers long the sinners who sin against him, thus lives in peace.
The meek is one who is slow to anger.
St. James says in this context, "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (Jas 1: 19) It is also said about our Meek Lord that He is "slow to anger" (Jon 4: 2), and "abounding in mercy" (Ps 103: 8).
The meek does not get angry for every reason.
If ever the meek gets angry, it will be for a serious matter, and often for God's sake, not for his own sake or for his own dignity or rights as those who are not meek do. When this happens, the meek will not be hot tempered or nervous, but just expresses his anger by showing his disapproval or dissatisfaction. He is very calm, not easily provoked or flamed with anger. If ever the meek gets angry he will soon calm down and forgive, as said about our Meek Lord that, "He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities …For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." (Ps 103: 9- 14)
A meek person is peaceful, never seeking revenge.
The meek does not resist evil (Mt 5: 39), or repay evil for evil, but is longsuffering, and never defensive but rather the others defend him, and rebuke those who does him wrong, saying, 'Have you found none but this good person to attack?!'
A meek person does no harm to anybody, but suffers harm from wrongdoers, like Moses the Prophet who was described as being "very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth." (Num 12: 3) When his sister Miriam spoke against him and God rebuked her and punished her by leprosy, Moses interceded for her though wronged by her! He pleaded with God, saying, "Please heal her, O God, I pray!" (Num 12: 13)
Among the beautiful examples of meekness is that of King Solomon and his indulgence, that "God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore." (1 Kgs 4: 29)
A meek person is a kind person, who deals with the others with simplicity.
If the meek enters into argument with anybody, he will not speak harshly or complicate matters, but expresses his opinion simply and defends it calmly and meekly as the Scripture says, with "the meekness of wisdom" (Jas 3: 13), even if he has to draw the attention of the arguing person to a certain fault!
He prevails in any dealing, without cunning, malice or deception.
He does not speak differently from what he has within, yet he is not naïve. Nay, for he is very wise, but with simplicity and without complicating matters. He does not take a roundabout way nor conspires against the others.
The meek is frank and pleasing, causing everybody to trust and have confidence in him.
He is gentle; never hurts the feelings of those who argue with him if wrong. He is sweet, mild, and treats everybody well, therefore he is loved by everybody being for them a good person.