Ave Maria Meditations
Blessed are the Meek: The Heart of Jesus Our Model
Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach me to model the affections of my heart on Yours.
1. A soul consecrated to the Sacred Heart, a soul given to reparation, must feel the need of modelling its life on that of Jesus. How can we say that we are really consecrated to the Sacred Heart, how can we say that we are His victim of reparation, when we retain in our heart feelings, desires and attractions which are opposed to His?
It is clear that in order to model our heart on the Heart of Christ, we cannot limit ourselves to eliminating this or that fault, to acquiring such and such a virtue; rather, we must strive to reform our whole life. However, when the divine Master offered up His Heart as a model, He spoke of two virtues in particular, meekness and humility: “Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). Not without reason has He spoken thus, knowing that when we have removed all movements and feelings of pride and self-love from our heart, we will also have suppressed all our other faults; and when we have acquired a profound humility, we will have acquired all the other virtues as well. Let us pause, then, to consider this great lesson of the Heart of Jesus…
First, Jesus speaks to us of meekness. This is the virtue by which man is enabled to master everything that falls under the heading of “anger”. Meekness gives the power to restrain and dominate all those passionate movements — even slight ones — which sometimes make us exceed just limits, and lose sight of the divine Guide. Since the guide of a soul desirous of giving itself to the service of God, is God Himself, is the Heart of Jesus, we must never lose sight of Our Lord or withdraw from Him, even for a short time; if we do, we will end by following our own self-love and trivial passions. Meekness, however, gives us self-mastery, enabling us to dominate every kind of irritation. If we examine ourselves carefully, we shall see that these irritations are almost always caused by some little hurt to our pride; the irascible appetite has been aroused by something which has wounded our “ego”. Meekness, as we can see, is closely connected with humility.
2. Our Lord joins the lesson of meekness to that of humility precisely because the immediate foundation of meekness is humility. It takes only a small amount of pride, of self-love, of attachment to our own way of seeing or doing things to make us unable to stand opposition. Then in the face of the shocks inevitably arising from the common life, we lose, to a greater or lesser extent, our serenity, our interior and exterior peace. If serenity is lost, calmness of judgment is also lost; therefore, we are no longer able to see clearly the divine light showing us which path to follow in order to give Our Lord what he is asking of us. Our soul wavers, loses its vigour, and allows itself to be ruled somewhat by passion. As long as any traces of pride and self-love remain in us, there will always occur circumstances in which we will lose some of our control and self-mastery; consequently, we shall lack meekness. To profit by the lesson of the Heart of Jesus, and to mode our heart on His, we must work assiduously to uproot every trace of pride and self-love. It is a task to which we must give our attention day by day, always beginning again, and never allowing ourselves to be discouraged by the constant recurrence of the attractions and resentments of our “ego”. We can only win this battle by never giving up the struggle.
To arouse our courage, let us remind ourselves that our strivings are not only good for our own soul but useful also to others, for, as Pius XI says, “the more we have sacrificed our self-love and passions, the more abundant will be the fruits of propitiation and expiation which we shall reap for ourselves and for others” (Miserentissimus Redemptor). The battle against self-love and the practice of humility are both part of the programme of a soul consecrated to the Sacred Heart, of one who has offered itself to Him as a victim of reparation.
“O most Sacred Heart of Jesus, You desire so ardently to shower Your favours upon the unfortunate, and to teach those who want to advance in the school of Your love; You continually invite me to be meek and humble of heart like You. For this reason, You convince me that in order to gain Your friendship and to become Your true disciple, I can do nothing better than to try henceforth to be truly meek and humble. Grant me, then, that sincere humility which keeps me subject to everyone, which makes me bear little humiliations in silence, which even makes me accept them willingly and with serenity, without excuse or complaint, remembering that I really deserve more and greater ones than I receive.
“O Jesus, permit me to enter Your Heart as I would a school. In this school teach me the science of the saints; in this school I shall listen attentively to Your sweet words: ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’ I can see that the storms I fear arise solely from my self-love, my vanity, my attachment to my own will. Defend me, O Lord, protect the peace of my soul! Your Heart is an abyss in which I find everything and, above all, it is an abyss of love in which I must submerge every other love, especially love of self with its fruits of human respect, vain complacency and egoism. By drowning all these tendencies in the abyss of Your love I shall find there all the riches my soul needs. O Jesus, if I feel in myself an abyss of pride and vainglory, I shall plunge it immediately into the profound humiliations of Your Heart which is an abyss of humility. If I find in myself an abyss of agitation, impatience or anger, I shall fly to Your Heart which is an abyss of meekness. In every circumstance, at every encounter, I want to abandon myself to Your Heart, the ocean of love and charity, and I will not leave it until I am all penetrated by its divine fire” (cf. St Margaret Mary).
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene (Divine Intimacy)