Love is Meek

Blessed are the meekbecause love is patient” (makrothyméi). Pope Francis links this assertion of 1 Corinthians 13 to Gods meekness and mercy:

Makrothyméi[is] the Greek translation of the Old Testament, where we read that God is slow to anger(Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18). It refers, then, to the quality of one who does not act on impulse and avoids giving offense. We find this quality in the God of the Covenant, who calls us to imitate him also within the life of the family. (Amoris Lætitia, 91).

If we are to be meek and inherit the earth then we cannot react on impulse, which gives rise to anger, calling people names, offenses, and even to murder. We are called to act like God who is slow to anger and is merciful toward those who offend him. This is a sign of real power, when we can control our emotions and not let ourselves be provoked and manipulated by the offenses of others toward us.

This doesnt mean we are to become a pushover, as Pope Francis explains: Being patient does not mean letting ourselves be constantly mistreated, tolerating physical aggression or allowing other people to use us” (Amoris Lætitia, 92). Instead, we should imitate Christ who would quietly challenge error and the selfserving exercise of power and authority by teaching the truth boldly. He also refused to yield to threats or to counter namecalling by responding in like manner. Rather, he freely laid down his life for his sheep, patiently enduring persecution for the love of us sinners.

To live like Christ means we have to love each person as they are, even when they complicate our life with their defects:

Patience takes root when I recognize that other people also have a right to live in this world, just as they are. It does not matter if they hold me back, if they unsettle my plans, or annoy me by the way they act or think, or if they are not everything I want them to be. Love always has an aspect of deep compassion that leads to accepting the other person as part of this world, even when he or she acts differently than I would like (Amoris Lætitia, 92).

If we truly love like thispatientlymercifully, loving people because they are Gods children and not because they are perfect or because they make life easier and more comfortable for usthen we will reduce family and social conflicts that hurt relationships and our prospect for happiness:

We encounter problems whenever we think that relationships or people ought to be perfect, or when we put ourselves at the center and expect things to turn out our way. Then everything makes us impatient, everything makes us react aggressively. Unless we cultivate patience, we will always find excuses for responding angrily. We will end up incapable of living together, antisocial, unable to control our impulses, and our families will become battlegrounds. That is why the word of God tells us: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice (Eph 4:31) (Amoris Lætitia, 92).

This is the way of the Godthe way of Marythe way of the Churchthe way of loveso let us also make it our way!

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.