Meek Love Bears All Things

St. Paul says: Love bears all things” (panta stégei). Christian meekness means more than simply putting up with evil[or] holding ones peaceIt implies limiting judgment, checking the impulse to issue a firm and ruthless condemnation: Judge not and you will not be judged (Luke 6:37)” (Amoris Lætitia 112). For condemning others is the work of Satan, the accuser of our brethrenwho accuses them day and night before our God(Revelation 12:10). Lets not help Satan in his work!

Avoiding critical and judgmental thoughts is key to being Christlike. While such thoughts may pop into our heads, when we become aware of them we need to react, just as we would to impure thoughts: put our minds on something elsetell Our Lady that we dont want to offend our Lord with our thoughtskeep busy. Meekness of mind sees critical thoughts as just as offensive to God as impure thoughts, doing a lot of damage through the tongue. As the Holy Father warns:

Although it runs contrary to the way we normally use our tongues, Gods word tells us: Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters (James 4:11). Being willing to speak ill of another person is a way of asserting ourselves, venting resentment and envy without concern for the harm we may do. We often forget that slander can be quite sinful; it is a grave offense against God when it seriously harms another persons good name and causes damage that is hard to repair (Amoris Lætitia 112).

It is in marriage and the family that we acquire the meekness to love, to think well of each other, to presume others goodwill even if he or she does something that frustrates us:

Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouses good side, not their weakness and faults. In any event, they keep silent rather than speak ill of them. This is not merely a way of acting in front of others; it springs from an interior attitude. Far from ingenuously claiming not to see the problems and weaknesses of others, it sees those weaknesses and faults in a wider context. It recognizes that these failings are a part of a bigger picture. We have to realize that all of us are a complex mixture of light and shadows. The other person is much more than the sum of the little things that annoy me (Amoris Lætitia, 113).

Love does not let the faults and annoyances define the other person and our relationship with them. True love makes a choice to give of itself unconditionally. This enables us to see the wider context, as our Lord says: Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me(Matthew 25:40,45). Whatever a spouse does to the other he or she does to Christ, which helps him or her see beyond the other persons problems and weaknesses.

Love does not have to be perfect for us to value it…, for he or she can neither play God nor serve all my needs. Love coexists with imperfection. It bears all things and can hold its peace before the limitations of the loved one (Amoris Lætitia 113).

In this way we purify our love, make it more altruistic and mercifulwe become more Godlike as we learn to love others as he has loved us.

Father John Waiss is the pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, Illinois. He is also a member of Opus Dei, the prelature founded by St. Josemaria Escriva.