Friday was (another) Rigid Rant. At this point someone should be coming up with a soap opera for Italian TV called, “The Young and The Rigid.”
“They are rigid people living a double life: They make themselves look good, sincere, but when no one sees them, they do ugly things…When I say this, I think of the many young people in the Church today who have fallen into the temptation of rigidity. Some are sincere, they are good. We have to pray that the Lord might help them to grow along the path of meekness.” Others, he said, “use rigidity in order to cover over weakness, sin, personality problems; and they use rigidity” to build themselves up while sacrificing others. HERE
I’ve already written a bunch of times about Francis’ belief that living the gospel is impossible – that the Commandments are merely “ideals”. This position was specifically condemned at Trent. I’m not getting into that again here. My purpose today is to expose and correct the notion that rigidity is opposed to meekness. On the contrary, rigidity is intrinsic to the nature of meekness.
Saturday, Francis had more on meekness . You might have missed it, because it was buried in the same talk under the MOAB comments.
In his response to the third question, posed by a youth named Luca who asked how the switch from violence to non-violence can be made, Francis pointed to the virtue of “meekness.” Violence is everywhere, and not just in wars, he said, noting that words can also harm… Using a phrase he has on several previous occasions, the Pope said the “terrorism of gossip” is the most dangerous in this regard, and told the youth that “if you are tempted to say something about someone, to gossip about another, bite your tongue.” This also goes for insults.
The violence of insults. Says Francis the Insult Machine.
The remedy for this, he said, is meekness, which “doesn’t mean to be stupid, it means to act in peace, with tranquility, to say things in a way that doesn’t hurt. We need to re-learn this, to find it again in our lives. Always with meekness, always with that meek attitude that is opposite of violence.” The answer also bled into another question asked by Aluizio, a teacher who asked the Pope what can be done to educate youth in becoming artisans of peace. Francis said the answer is much the same as the previous, and consists of teaching youth how to be meek and listen to others… HERE
No, meekness is not the opposite of violence. But yes, meekness does imply peace and tranquility. So where in the world can we turn for a reliable definition of meekness?
Ding ding ding. That’s right, The Second Epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy. The entire letter is a lesson in meekness. I’m willing to bet that when you got up this morning, you had no idea you were going to read an entire book of the bible today. Well, sweet 2 Tim is only four short chapters, and you don’t even need to click a link, because I’m going to paste the whole thing right here.
The common misunderstanding of meekness as being timid, unassertive, accommodating, etc. is a construct of 1960s hippy Jesus flower power felt banner faux nuChurch. Do you really think the creator of the universe, Jesus, consubstantial with the Father, the God of the Old Testament, could in any way be described as UNASSERTIVE?
Meekness is a bearing. It’s about patience but also persistence. It’s about submission, but always in submitting your own will to the will of God, never to the will of men. It’s about wielding power in a restrained manner, but wielding it nonetheless. It’s about operating as Moses did. He said so himself:
“For Moses was a man exceeding meek above all men that dwelt upon earth” Numbers 12:3
Saint Paul neatly teaches on the dual aspect of meekness, the internal and the external. Internal meekness is the bearing of one’s own sufferings for the sake of the gospel. It’s closely related to humility, but it is active, not passive. Think about not just submitting to the suffering but actually wielding the suffering for the greater glory of God. External meekness relates to a patient but persistent bearing with others in your role as evangelist. By its very nature, meekness is rigid:
But the servant of the Lord must not wrangle: but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient, With modesty admonishing them that resist the truth: if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth, And they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will. I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober. 2 Tim 2:24-26, 4:1-5
Please go on and read it all. Paul weaves back and forth between his own trials and his instructions to Timothy. Examples of meekness and directions for meekness. You can feel the personal connection he has to Timothy and the church in his care.
It’s short, you can do it.
The Second Epistle of Saint Paul to Timothy
Chapter 1. He admonishes him to stir up the grace he received by his ordination and not to be discouraged at his sufferings, but to hold firm the sound doctrine of the gospel.
 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, according to the promise of life, which is in Christ Jesus.  To Timothy my dearly beloved son, grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord.  I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience, that without ceasing, I have a remembrance of thee in my prayers, night and day.  Desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy,  Calling to mind that faith which is in thee unfeigned, which also dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice, and I am certain that in thee also.
 For which cause I admonish thee, that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee, by the imposition of my hands.  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love, and of sobriety.  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but labour with the gospel, according to the power of God,  Who hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world.  But is now made manifest by the illumination of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath destroyed death, and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel:
 “By the illumination”: That is, by the bright coming and appearing of our Saviour.
 Wherein I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles.  For which cause I also suffer these things: but I am not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day. Hold the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me in faith, and in the love which is in Christ Jesus.  Keep the good thing committed to thy trust by the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in us.  Thou knowest this, that all they who are in Asia, are turned away from me: of whom are Phigellus and Hermogenes.
 The Lord give mercy to the house of Onesiphorus: because he hath often refreshed me, and hath not been ashamed of my chain:  But when he was come to Rome, he carefully sought me, and found me.  The Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou very well knowest.
Chapter 2. He exhorts him to diligence in his office and patience in suffering. The danger of the delusions of heretics.
 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus:  And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.  Labour as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No man, being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular businesses; that he may please him to whom he hath engaged himself.  For he also that striveth for the mastery, is not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
 The husbandman, that laboureth, must first partake of the fruits.  Understand what I say: for the Lord will give thee in all things understanding.  Be mindful that the Lord Jesus Christ is risen again from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel.  Wherein I labour even unto bands, as an evildoer; but the word of God is not bound.  Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory.
 A faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him.  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us.  If we believe not, he continueth faithful, he can not deny himself.  Of these things put them in mind, charging them before the Lord. Contend not in words, for it is to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.  Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they grow much towards ungodliness.  And their speech spreadeth like a canker: of whom are Hymeneus and Philetus:  Who have erred from the truth, saying, that the resurrection is past already, and have subverted the faith of some.  But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: the Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord.  But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and earth: and some indeed unto honour, but some unto dishonour.
 If any man therefore shall cleanse himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and profitable to the Lord, prepared unto every good work.  But flee thou youthful desires, and pursue justice, faith, charity, and peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  And avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they beget strifes.  But the servant of the Lord must not wrangle: but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient, With modesty admonishing them that resist the truth: if peradventure God may give them repentance to know the truth,
 And they may recover themselves from the snares of the devil, by whom they are held captive at his will.
Chapter 3. The character of heretics of latter days. He exhorts Timothy to constancy. Of the great profit of the knowledge of the scriptures.
 Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times.  Men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked,  Without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness,  Traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of God:  Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.
 For of these sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires:  Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.  But they shall proceed no farther; for their folly shall be manifest to all men, as theirs also was.  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience,
 “Jannes and Mambres”: The magicians of king Pharao.
 Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me.  And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse: erring, and driving into error.  But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned them;  And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
 All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,  That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.
 “All scripture,”: Every part of divine scripture is certainly profitable for all these ends. But, if we would have the whole rule of Christian faith and practice, we must not be content with those Scriptures, which Timothy knew from his infancy, that is, with the Old Testament alone: nor yet with the New Testament, without taking along with it the traditions of the apostles, and the interpretation of the church, to which the apostles delivered both the book, and the true meaning of it.
Chapter 4. His charge to Timothy. He tells him of his approaching death and desires him to come to him.
 I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom:  Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine.  For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:  And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables.  But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober.
 “An evangelist”: a diligent preacher of the gospel.
 For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.  As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming. Make haste to come to me quickly.  For Demas hath left me, loving this world, and is gone to Thessalonica:  Crescens into Galatia, Titus into Dalmatia.
 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.  But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.  The cloak that I left at Troas, with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, especially the parchments.  Alexander the coppersmith hath done me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works:  Whom do thou also avoid, for he hath greatly withstood our words.
 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all forsook me: may it not be laid to their charge.  But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching may be accomplished, and that all the Gentiles may hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  The Lord hath delivered me from every evil work: and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.  Erastus remained at Corinth. And Trophimus I left sick at Miletus.
 Make haste to come before winter. Eubulus and Pudens, and Linus and Claudia, and all the brethren, salute thee.  The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.