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Meek is NOT Weak

Written by Ann Burns

May 11, 2022

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We hear so much about womanhood in relation to strength.  Pop culture is riddled with tough-macho women— women who save the world, beat up villains three times their size, and are married to foppish men. 

Proclaiming that meekness is not just a good and positive thing, but also that it enhances your feminine strength seems to be antediluvian thinking.  You want me to be a meek woman?

Immediately, the image of Beth from Little Women comes to mind.  A girl so “meek and mild,” and bereft of personality she actually wanted to give all her food away on Christmas morning. What young kid is like this? She basically faints in fear when she meets her curmudgeon of neighbor, and of course, before the book is even close to finished, she dies.  

Yup. She’s so meek, she dies. Needless to say, Little Women is not one of my favorite novels. 

I am going to assume that I am not alone with these kinds of connotations.  Meekness seems to be code for frail and pathetic.  Mousy. Boring. 

Ironically, after years of praying things like,  Jesus, Meek and Humble of Heart, make my heart like unto Thine, I totally glossed over the word “meek.”  That I was praying for a meek heart.  I glossed over the word because I didn’t actually want a meek heart.  

It never even dawned on me that my understanding of the term is the warped modern association of what actually is a beautiful and powerful virtue.  

According to St. Thomas Aquinas: 

Meekness is a virtue which implies loftiness of soul. 

For this reason worldlings usually are wanting in meekness, for this loftiness is found in them but rarely and imperfectly. If they are not the first to use harsh and discourteous expressions, yet when they are addressed to them by others, they resent and return them promptly, showing by their revenge that they have a rude and ignoble heart. 

And so the servants of God, remaining always quiet and peaceable, though provoked by words or acts, manifest a perfect loftiness of soul superior to all rudeness.

 

Meekness is the virtue we should be praying for today.

How many times have we encountered hateful comments in person or online? What with the chaos bubbling over with the Roe V. Wade news, it’s tempting to respond to the rude and evil snares of those upholding child slaughter with cruelty.  

There is so much blatant wrongdoing in our world, and if we choose to cling to the Truth of Christ, we will be scorned and ridiculed. 

But we can choose how we respond, and we can choose the virtue of meekness. 

Instead of becoming emotionally irate or collapsing in tears, meekness allows us to be self-possessed.  It enables us to respond with good in the face of evil.  

Meekness is not cowardliness, timidity, or servility; it’s the power that restrains the onslaught of anger and subjects it to the order of reason.  While it may be more natural to express anger when one is assaulted, meekness is the higher path.  It prevents evil from completely overcoming the person who is already suffering enough from evil.  Meekness prevents this suffering from advancing to the precincts of the soul first to depression and then to despair.

— Donald DeMarco

 

Meekness is not a virtue that comes easy to me.  My choleric, combative nature often wants to put up a fight.  

But modernity’s blatant rage and unguarded emotionalism has definitely made it clear that zeal needs to be tempered.  It needs to be steadfast and calm.  

There is never a reason to respond to evil with evil; in doing so, we do not reflect the truth of Christ Jesus, but our own sinful nature. 

As women, we need to trade in our understanding of the strong-alpha woman we see in pop-culture, and replace her with the truly strong woman: the meek woman. 

As author Dr. Carrie Gress wrote: 

Meekness is not what you think—it doesn’t mean being a spineless milquetoast or a coward, but quite the contrary. It is the most misunderstood of the virtues. There is, in fact, nothing weak about being meek. It is the woman of unique strength who, although she is clearly aware of adverse realities around her, is able to direct her emotions to an appropriate response in a difficult situation.

 

Here are some simple steps to Grow in Meekness:

  1. Be Quick to Forgive 
  2. Frequent Confession 
  3. Practice patience with others
  4. Never respond in anger to someone! Wait it out and say some prayers 
  5. Rejoice in other’s joys/victories 
  6. Remind yourself that you don’t need to have the last word
  7. Seek out friendships with people who exemplify the virtue of meekness
  8. Don’t fall into rash judgement 
  9. When someone says something rude to you, turn it into a moment of gratitude.  I know my ego always needs a little reality check. 
  10. Pray daily for this virtue!

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine! 

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