Blessed Are You Book Club: Meekness, Chapter 3

 

Welcome to WINE’s Summer Book Club! We are reading and discussing Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration From Our Sisters in Faith by Melanie Rigney. We’re so happy you are joining us! We pray this book club will bless you and give you tangible ways to live the Beatitudes in your daily lives. We look forward to hearing from you in the comments section, throughout our time together.

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By Colleen Mitchell

I am 43 years old and recently died my hair bright purple.

This is relevant to our conversation because it perfectly illustrates my unlikeliness to fit any definition of our theme for this chapter, meekness, as some form of natural mildness of temperament. I am and have always been all flash and fire and spark.

So when I saw the list of chapter’s in Melanie’s book, I began to pray to the Holy Spirit fervently, “Not meekness, please don’t give me meekness, I really will gladly do anything but meekness, Lord.”

But our Good Father certainly knows us well, and enjoys offering us the challenges that will most help us grow, even if they make us panic just a bit.

But here I am, and delighted to tell you that after reading this chapter, my panic has subsided and I am no longer afraid of the word meekness!

When Melanie begins this chapter by sharing the nine times the word meekness appears in the Scriptures, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the context in which it is most often used has very little to do with timidity or a naturally retiring and shy personality.

Then she tackles the very fear that had me skeptical about this chapter with this gem of an insight:

“We want to be strong, empowered, confident, successful, popular.” (p. 35)

“Yes,” I thought, “yes we do!”

“The thing is we become all those things when we embrace meekness and humility.” (p. 35)

Now I was paying attention.

This new definition of meekness as strength of spirit, as the courage to be faithful and obedient to God because we believe fully in the value of our eternal inheritance was an insight and a gift to me. It opened up the possibilities of the beatitude in a fresh way and offered me hope that maybe, it was, after all, for me too.

Maybe I can be the kind of woman who flashes and sparks with passion and still be meek after all! If meekness consists in having the faith to believe in God’s good heart for us even when He asks something difficult of us, or contrary to our natural inclinations, then I can certainly see how embracing this beatitude would allow me to grow in holiness and trust in Him more.

In my life as a foreign missionary, I daily encounter difficulties and human sorrows that are greater than my own strength. There are times when I would much rather walk away than do the hard work of walking with people in their pain and laying down my life to constantly serve them in tangible ways. There are days when no amount of passion of my own spirit can give me the strength to do what God has called me to do.

My choice is to either refuse His will for me because I cannot accomplish it on my own, or to trust that He will give me all that I need to do what He has called me to do. I only have to be obedient, and He will do the rest.

This is the heart of meekness, and it is a great gift to me to see it as such. This is a spiritual quality I understand and long for. This is a challenge in which I can see great value.

And to practice with the hope that one day I will arrive at the space where everything in my spirit sees and knows and lives and breathes with the Spirit of God for eternity, where there is nothing contrary to Him in me?

This, friends, is a meekness I will run after and chase down. A meekness I want to want, which on the path to holiness is more than half the battle, I think.

Lastly, to know that my sisters in the communion of saints, like St. Gianna and St. Therese and some new friends Melanie introduced me to in the chapter are there praying and cheering me on, holding out the hand of friendship to me on the way? What a great joy it is to seek holiness knowing we are not alone!

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

So, what about you? I am interested to know what your preconceived thoughts of meekness were and how the chapter changed or affirmed the way you see it. In Melanie’s study guide, she includes this quote from fellow writer Pat Gohn: “Meekness lets God lead.” In what ways might God be calling you to trust Him more fully to lead you?

YOUR TURN: Below in the comments box, please share your thoughts, inspirations, and reflections on Chapter 3, and/or your responses to any of the above questions.

About the Author:

colleen_mitchellColleen Mitchell is a wife, missionary, bringer-upper of boys, speaker, writer and wanna-be saint. She lives and works with her family in rural Costa Rica as founder of their missionary non-profit St. Bryce Missions. Her first book, Who Does He Say You Are?, is available for pre-order and will be released August 6 from Servant Books.

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Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 4: Righteousness. For the complete reading schedule and information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.

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21 Responses to “Blessed Are You Book Club: Meekness, Chapter 3”
  1. Katherine says:

    I, too, had a total misconception of meekness. Ten years ago, my husband wanted to retire and move away from the hustle and bustle of what had become our daily lives. My problem was leaving my children, grandchildren, parents and what I had believed would be my forever home after many moves. That being said, I had always followed my husband and believed it was part of my calling to follow and take care of him. I can’t say I did much praying about it, but a few years later, I knew our move had been blessed by God, everything flowed so perfectly, the sale of our house, the installation of the infrastructure for our new, off grid home, etc. but, the biggest blessing came when my husband said, since I was following his dream, he would go with me to church with me every Sunday. True to his word, he attended Mass with me every Sunday and in 2014, he made is First Communion and was confirmed into the Catholic faith. I see now, that my meekness in following the Lord led to this profound answering of my prayers!😊

    • Sarah Damm says:

      Wow, Katherine! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, tangible example of meekness! How inspiring!

      • Katherine says:

        Thank you!

      • Fran Murphy says:

        Thank you Katherine. My story is similar. The first 12 years living in a new place I was sad and kept praying to God to please let it be that we move back near them. It was a struggle for me. Last Fall my husband began to attend Mass with me after many many years of not attending. I had accepted it was God’s will that I be here about 1 1/2 years ago. Finally. Since I made that decision and recognize it was God’s will I feel joyful.

        This chapter was especially meaningful to me. I realize through these readings and the women/Saints mentioned that I need to work on my meekness. I have been praying for humilitiy.

    • What a fantastic testimony to what meekness is and how God blesses it. Thanks for sharing, Katherine.

    • Connie Gray says:

      I am sorry for the late entry into the discussion, but I am catching up on my reading today. I loved your story! Sometimes it is so hard to understand why our lives take uncertain turns. You have an awesome testimony. Thank you for sharing!

    • Loved your story. Mine was somewhat like yours, only my husband was downsized and not able to find suitable work at his age. Several other misfortunes had occurred and we decided that God was trying to get our attention. After praying about it, we concluded that we needed to move back to MS to be nearer our widowed mothers. Our move did not go so smoothly. Mike went ahead believing that he had a job waiting. He did not, but that’s another whole story. He finally found a night job 50 miles away from my mom’s house and commuted. Mother had a stroke shortly after he moved into her home. Had he not been there to get her to hospital, she probably would not have survived without further complications.

      I continued with my job in MT while trying to sell our home and helping with my one and only grandchild. Mike and I were both going through RCIA at the time, so we had that as our support group. After 2 years apart, our house finally sold and I moved. Adjustment was hard, but we were able to help our mothers during their last few years (and rescue Mike’s mom during Katrina). We kept our grandson in the summers as his mother left shortly after I did.

      In 2007 our son was offered a job in Tupelo opening a new division for his company. We considered that a minor miracle and happily agreed to keep Caleb (his son) for his 4th grade year while he got the company going. It’s all worked out fairly well and Caleb is now 18 and graduated. Tables have turned and he’s babysitting me this week while Mike is at the Lung Institute for treatment. God is good.

      • Connie Gray says:

        Thanks for sharing. Looking back at our lives it is amazing to see how God leads us in ways that were meant to be…

  2. Barbara Levich says:

    I heard Fr. John Ricardo say recently that meekness is strength under control. It’s the difference between an unbroken horse and one that accepts bridle and saddle (His yoke) to be able to do great things on command (His).

  3. Courtney Brooks says:

    Meekness, yes a new interpretation.
    At times when things prove too difficult, or too confusing, I have to say to myself “Let God”. I think that is meekness, letting go of your intense expectations and strivings. God has a plan, and our souls are less anxious if we allow ourselves to mellow out, and Let God.

    • Yes, this is exactly it! I was recently reflecting on the Gospel reading about the woman who asks for the scraps from the table. It is her meekness that moves Jesus to a miracle. What a lovely thought. We can stop striving and just let him be God, and the results can be miraculous.

  4. Michelle says:

    This week God placed on my heart that my only enemy is sin, which means people, circumstances, all the “stuff” that challenges is not the issue, but how I respond, what I expect of myself and others, and my trust in God to reveal the “best” way to walk or be carried through all of it. AND His willingness to reveal where I fall short shows how much He wants all obstacles out of our path to Him more than we ever could. Peace.

    • Connie Gray says:

      “all the “stuff” that challenges is not the issue, but how I respond”
      Great insight. Thank you!

  5. Beautiful sharing. There is such strength and faith and beauty in meekness. It is also so freeing, once we put down that burden and obey.

  6. Jill Stimson says:

    These chapters are hard. Spiritual poverty? I have to keep rereading pg 21 on how we find our own spiritual poverty or get a better understanding of what it is. Mourning? Not there yet! But Meekness? I’m there with Colleen. I know what she means when she talks about flash, fire and spark in her own demeaner. Even though I may think this chapter would be more challenging than the first two, I am hopeful that through prayer and faith, I will be provided the grace to begin to practice meekness. It was a few years ago that I desired to be more humble and to practice humility and through that same prayer and faith, I have experienced the fruits of it. One of the ways was through the “Humility Prayer”. What a blessing it has been for me!

  7. Martha Mendoza says:

    I was married for 19 years with 5 children. One In college, one in high school and 3 in elementary school. My youngest was 7 years old. I was a stay home mom at the time. My eldest son was drugged and rapped by 3 men. My husband couldn’t handled it and felt he failed him because he couldn’t protect him so he choose to leave and get involved with ungodly people. By the grace of God my sister was able to get me a part time job and later helped me start a business and praise God it has grown and I only work for myself. It gave me the opportunity to be there for my children. We were married by the Catholic Church so divorse was out of the question. I never dated and still don’t. I’ve dedicated my life to God and my children. After being separated for 12 years my Priest at my parish said it was time for me to file for an annulment. I told him No and there was no possible way It would be granted. He told me that I’ve done a great job that all my children are adults and been and continue to be the DRE for our parish. I just laughed and said thank you Father but I’m not going to file. Three months later I went to LA religious congress and I had this urgency to go to confession. After a little hesitation I went to confession. It was one of the most complete and refreshing moments with Christ. This priest who I have never meet before told me to file for an annulment. I was in shock and told him my parish priest told me that one day out of the blues. He said that God loves me and to allow myself to be loved and allow and accept his gifts. After trying to give him all the excuses why it was not a good idea. I accepted to be obedient and not be set in my ways and accept and follow Gods call to move forward. I don’t know where this is going to lead me but I do know I’m not going to be afraid and listen and follow Our Lord.

    • Connie Gray says:

      Dear Martha, You have been through so much and have yet have such a strong faith. Thank you for your example to me. I wish the best for you as you are going forward and pray for you.

      Dear Jesus help Martha feel your love and guidance. Dear Mary pray for her.

  8. Anne says:

    I am with you Colleen! I always stayed away from this beatitude because I figured there was no way I would be meek or wanted to be meek. I always saw meekness as smallness or shrinking back. I, too, like the definition that if we become small (meek) then God can become big. I can allow God to be my strength and still be the assertive, loud, outgoing, and crazy girl that God made me. I also was happy that St. Gianna Molla was included in this chapter too, because there was no way that an educated woman who became a doctor in the 50’s was a shrinking violet. I think I can like this new definition of meekness – “strong, empowered, confident, successful, popular, for goodness’ sake”

  9. Connie Gray says:

    I’m sorry for the late reply to your insight but I am a week behind and trying to catch up. I also misunderstood the meaning of “meekness” and appreciated this chapter and your comments on it. I liked your quote,

    “My choice is to either refuse His will for me because I cannot accomplish it on my own, or to trust that He will give me all that I need to do what He has called me to do. I only have to be obedient, and He will do the rest.”
    Thank you.