Step 24


1. As the aurora precedes the splendour of the sun; so does meekness precede humility. Jesus Christ Himself has marked out for us the natural order of these two virtues. “Learn of me,” He says, “because I am meek and humble of heart.”1 It is proper, therefore, before treating of humility, represented by the sun, to speak of meekness, which is the aurora; that first beholding a light less brilliant, we may afterwards gaze with a clear and steadfast eye on the full blaze of glory reflected from humility. For it is impossible to look upon the one, without first habituating the eye to the other, as we learnt from the words of our Divine Redeemer.

2. Meekness is an immutable state of mind, which runs on in the same even temper through honour and dishonour, through evil report and good report.

3. This virtue consists in bearing with a holy insensibility the troubles caused by our neighbour; and in praying for him with true sincerity of heart at the time he is treating us with injustice.

4. Meekness is a rock high above the raging sea, dashing back with irresistible might the foaming surges that lash its sides, and continuing unmoved amidst the agitations that threaten its destruction.

5. Meekness is the staff of patience. It is the gate, or rather the mother of charity, the principle of discernment and interior light, according to the testimony of the Royal Prophet: “The Lord will guide the mild in judgment; He will teach the meek His ways.”2 Meekness is our mediatrix in obtaining the pardon of our sins, and the humble confidence we have in our prayers. It is the living temple of the Holy Spirit. “To whom shall I have respect,” saith the Lord, “but to him that is poor, little, and of a contrite heart, and that trembleth at My words?”3

6. Meekness is the helpmate of obedience; the guide and the bond of fraternal friendship the bridle of fury; the curb-chain of anger. It is the source of holy joy; the imitator of Jesus Christ; the sweet disposition of angels. It is a chain wherewith to bind demons; a buckler which repels the darts of hatred and ill-nature.

7. The heart of the meek is the throne on which the Lord reposes; whilst the soul of the turbulent and the choleric is the tribunal over which demons preside.

8. “Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess the land,”4 says our Divine Redeemer; yea, not only possess the land, but rule and govern it; whilst the ungovernable and irritable are justly termed its destruction.

9. The soul of the meek and the peaceable is the seat of simplicity; but the mind of the angry and the violent is the abundant source of malice.

10. He who is endowed with meekness is full of the words of wisdom. “The Lord will guide the mild in judgment; He will teach the meek His ways.”5 These ways are the ways of lightsomeness and discernment.

11. The soul which is upright and sincere is the faithful companion of humility; whereas, the malicious and irascible Christian is the slave of pride.

12. Meek souls are gifted with divine knowledge. But hot and fiery minds are always groping in ignorance and darkness.

13. An irritable man and an impostor having, one day, met together, their conversation consisted of nothing that was solid or sincere. If we could have unveiled the heart of the first, we should have beheld nothing but folly; and of the second, we should have detected nothing but malice and deception.

14. Simplicity in the soul is a salutary habit, which renders us incapable of duplicity, and proof against all the motions of a corrupt mind.

15. Malice is the science of demons, or rather the infamous heritage of these spirits of darkness. It is the opponent of truth, of which having entirely divested itself, it seeks by wiles and deceptions to divest others.

16. Hypocrisy is a deportment in our words and actions contrary to the interior dispositions of our hearts.

17. Innocence, on the contrary, is the condition of a tranquil soul, which is full of holy joy, and free from all guile and artifice.

18. The rectitude of the heart is a pure intention, which has recourse to no subtleties, no equivocation to escape from the truth. It is as sincere in its action, as it is simple and without guile in its words.

19. The innocent is one who has preserved the natural purity in which his soul was created by God, and who acts and speaks with every one, according to the dictates of this unblemished candour.

20. Malice is the assassin of the heart’s rectitude; the malignant intent to conceal, under the pretext of a wise and judicious conduct, its many grievous faults. It is an affected ambiguity in words, confirmed by false swearing. It is the duplicity of a dark and impenetrable heart. It is an abyss of deception; a habit of falsehood; an unnatural haughtiness, that deadly enemy of humility. It is a false and artful imitation of penance--the drought of holy tears--the hatred of sacramental confession--the obstinate adherence to our own judgments--the source of depravity and many downfalls--an obstacle to our repentance and reconciliation with God. It is a secret and interior complacency experienced by the cunning and malicious, and which induces it to smile, when reproached for its suppleness and want of principle. It is an affected and ridiculous modesty--a false and trumpery devotion--a life truly diabolical.

21. The wicked man and the devil are not only united by the conformity of their actions, but even by the very name. For we have learned from our Redeemer to beseech God in our daily prayers, “to deliver us from the evil one.”6 (Note. In our translation it is simply “from evil.”)

22. Let us, terrified by the words of the Royal Prophet, flee from the precipice of hypocrisy and the gulf of dissimulation: “Be not emulous of evil doers; nor envy them that work iniquity, for they shall shortly wither away as grass, and as the green herbs shall quickly fall.”7

23. God, who is called in Holy Scripture Charity, is likewise called the God of equity. Hence Solomon, speaking to the undefiled soul, says: “The Righteous One loves thee.”8 And David his father: “The Lord is sweet and righteous; therefore He will give a law to sinners in the way.”9

24. The simplicity natural to some is a most favourable disposition, an inestimable happiness. But this natural disposition is very inferior to that which is supernatural, which has been engrafted as it were upon the unhappy root of our corruption and malice, by the merit of our toilsome labours. For the first, indeed, inspires us with an aversion to all guile and deception; but the second, rising superior to nature, procures for us the most profound humility, the most perfect meekness of spirit; so that whilst the recompense of the former will not be great, that of the latter will be infinite.

25. One of the most prominent features in little children is their innocent simplicity. As long as Adam possessed this beautiful qualification he was not ashamed of his nakedness.

26. Let all who desire to welcome Jesus Christ to their hearts come to Him as to their best master, to receive His divine instructions. But let them come to Him in the robe of simplicity, and free from the tawdry disguise of malice and curiosity. For as He Himself is the most pure and simple of all beings, so does He wish us to be pure and simple like Himself, because when we are simple, we shall undoubtedly be humble, since humility and simplicity are inseparable companions.

27. Malice is a false prophet, that endeavours to discover thoughts by words, and the secrets of the heart by the exterior actions of the body.

28. I have seen those who were good and simple taught to be wily and wicked by their communication with the wicked. And I wondered how, by this intercourse, they could have lost in so short a time the excellent qualifications which they had received from nature. But it is as easy for the virtuous to be corrupted as it is difficult for the wicked to be reclaimed.

29. Retirement from the world, perfect obedience, a strict watch over our words, are very efficacious in preserving the mind undefiled. Yea, by an almost miraculous change of heart they have healed souls of those wounds which appeared incurable.

30. If, as the apostle says, “knowledge puffeth up,”10 we may, I think, affirm that simplicity and ignorance abase and make us naturally the most humble.

31. St. Paul, surnamed the Simple, was a happy illustration of this truth, and an admirable model of heavenly simplicity, for he made greater progress in this virtue than any one we can remember.

32. The solitary who is simple, and like a rational beast, perfectly submissive to his guide, lays upon this guide, by this happy submission, the heavy burden of his own will. And as a beast does not resist its master when he fastens upon it the yoke, so the simple Christian opposes not the commands of his superior, but follows him whithersoever he directs without contraction, although he leads him forth as a victim to the sacrifice.

33. If the rich, according to the testimony of divine truth, “shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven,”11 so the wise of the world, who are fools in the sight of God, shall with difficulty enter into the spirit of a happy simplicity.

34. A grievous fall has frequently made the malicious and deceitful enter into themselves, and procure, almost in defiance of their former disposition, this innocent simplicity, so advantageous to our salvation.

35. Strive manfully to rid yourselves of false wisdom, then will you secure the salvation of your souls by the simplicity of your hearts. Both are to be obtained by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Matt. xi. 29.

  2. Ps. xxiv. 9.

  3. Isaiah lxvi. 2.

  4. Matt. v. 4.

  5. Ps. xxiv. 9.

  6. Matt. vi. 13.

  7. Ps. xxxvi. 2.

  8. Cant. i. 3.

  9. Ps. xxiv. 8.

  10. I Cor. vii. 1.

  11. Matt. xix. 23.


Archbishop Gregory
Dormition Skete
P.O. Box 3177
Buena Vista, CO 81211-3177
Contact: Archbishop Gregory
In a New Window.
Valid CSS!Valid XHTML
            1.0 Transitional
Copyright 2005
All rights reserved.