by Boudreaux, Florentin, 1821-1894
From the same source, an inexhaustible source of meekness, will come forth words of heavenly sweetness, parables of divine compassion, precepts of truly Godlike charity. Review the history of the Heart of Jesus upon earth ; go with it from the crib of Bethlehem to the Pagan cities of Egypt; from the peaceful home of Nazareth through the hamlets of Galilee and Judea; follow it through the winding streets of Jerusalem; see it in the midst of its friends and of its enemies ; ascend with it along the way of sorrows to where it was finally broken with the very excess of its loving forbearance towards sinners: and you will find meekness its most prominent character; meekness beams from the Heart of Jesus through His mild eyes; meekness flows from His hands in miraculous streams of power to relieve the sorrows of men, to dry their tears, to heal their diseases; meekness dwells upon His lips and pours forth from them the sweet accents of His Divine voice ; dictates those gentle words, whose power is irresistible because their sweetness is Divine. Meekness directs every action and appears in every trait ; it invests His whole being with a loveliness which draws the souls of men, and lays all hearts at His feet, willing trophies of His all-powerful love.
Listen to His words ; they are the accents of meekness itself. “ Love one another, as I have loved you. Do to one another as I have done unto you. Forgive and you shall be forgiven. Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you and revile you. Pray for them that persecute you.
This is my commandment that you love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Forgive not only seven times, but seventy times seven times. If a man strike you on the right cheek, present to him also the other. Leave your offering at the foot of the altar and go first and be reconciled to your brother.” The Gospel is full of such lessons as these — lessons of Divine meekness, which must be our admiration, and which should be our guides and our consolation. O what a heart is this! What strange, unearthly doctrine it gives forth ! But it is not merely by word that He proves His meekness, not only by word that He teaches it to us. His life, His actions, far more eloquently than even His words, inculcate the same lesson, proclaim the same truth. He was always the meek Lamb, which He had chosen as His favorite type. In Him was no guile, no bitterness, no resentment, no feeling of revenge. Many an unkind look afflicted Him, many a harsh word fell cold and chilling upon His heart, many a repulse met the kindness and goodness with which He would have won back some stray sheep to His bosom; many an ungrateful infidelity was the only reward 'of His untiring patience and of His unfailing beneficence: but the sweetness of His heart was not soured, its serenity was not ruffled, its gentleness was not rebuked ; when He was reviled, He did not revile ; when He suffered, He threatened not; (1 Pet) but was silent like a lamb before its shearer, (Is. liii.) nay, like a lamb in the midst of wolves whose fury will tear it in pieces. His enemies press around Him, they howl their mad rage against Him. They pour out their bitter invectives ; they load Him with reproaches. To them He is a Samaritan, He has a demon; He is full of wickedness ; He is a seducer of the people, a destroyer of peace, an enemy of His country, a man worthy of death, a blasphemer, a violator of all laws human and divine. All this and much more than this they vilely cast into His very face in their jealous impiety ; they thirst for His blood ; they plot against Him, how they may put Him to death. But Jesus is still the silent lamb, meekly gazing upon the wolves that surround Him, as if He knew not that He was the object of their hate. Nay, His Heart is so unconquerably meek and forgiving, that He loves those very enemies with an infinite love, He looks upon them with an infinite compassion, He blesses them with an infinite effusion of mercy. For them He has come down from heaven, for them He has suffered and toiled during the days of His mortal pilgrimage ; for them He has prayed in the dismal desert, on the summit of the solitary mountains; for them He will still suffer and pray ; for them He will shed His blood and lay down His life. Peter denies Him, the other Apostles and disciples abandon Him ; Judas, one of the twelve, betrays Him and sells Him to His enemies; the soldiers of the High Priests bind Him, drag Him ignominiously through the streets of Jerusalem; one strikes Him on the face, others scourge Him, crown Him with thorns, spit upon Him, mock and insult Him ; they cry out for His blood, they crucify Him, they exult in His torments and triumph in His death. And He, the mild and forgiving Jesus, with a heart not to be soured, with a heart divinely forbearing and infinitely meek, either receives their insults in silence, or answers with gentle sweetness ; He gives to Peter a look of mercy, to Judas the name of friend, to others the salutation : “Peace be to you ; ” to all He stretches out His arms to embrace them; for His very executioners His only feeling is one of uncontrollable love, which bursts forth in a divine prayer for their pardon : “ Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His blood, shed by the fury of His enemies, reddens the guilty earth, stains the ignominious cross, falls upon those who scourge Him and crucify Him and mock Him on His gibbet. But His blood washes away the handwriting of death that stood against us, and cries to heaven, not for vengeance, but for mercy, for grace, for God’s choicest benedictions. O meekness of the Heart of Jesus ! boundless, inexhaustible, truly infinite, since nothing less could have resisted such a storm of ingratitude and baseness ! Our minds cannot measure this meekness; earth has no language to express it ; the heart of man is not capacious enough to contain it. But if we could obtain only one drop of that immense ocean of meekness for our hearts, we should have derived ample fruit from the first lesson of the Heart of Jesus.
And now we have seen something of the meekness of that Divine Heart which has deigned to admit us to a view of its treasures. We might gaze on it forever, and forever feast our souls on the sweetness of this first of the fruits of that heavenly Paradise. But in order to deserve to do this in its fullness, we must begin by looking into our own hearts, and making them more like the Heart of Jesus than they have been until now. He gives us the lessons; but they will profit us nothing unless we learn them and practise them. We too must be meek of heart, we must be willing to forgive and forget ; we must receive injuries without murmuring, reproaches without indignation, affronts without feelings of revenge; we must admit no resentment into our souls, no rancor into our bosoms ; we must not revile when we are reviled, nor threaten when we suffer; we must be as lambs led to the slaughter, not opening our mouths to complain of those that persecute us. Thus shall we be the children of our Father who is in heaven ; thus shall we be worthy to possess an inheritance in that blissful Paradise; for, “ blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you for my sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.” (Matt, v.)