“Learn From Me, For I Am Meek and Humble of Heart”1. Jesus is perfection itself. In Him, therefore, every virtue is to be found. He could truly claim that He fulfilled in Himself the precept: “You are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt. 5:48) Throughout His life He performed in a perfect manner the will of His heavenly Father. “I do always the things that are pleasing to him.” (John 8:29)
Jesus Christ provided us with an example of every virtue. As the foundation of all the virtues, He insisted on the great precept of loving God above all things and our neighbour as ourselves. In proposing Himself as a model, however, this is what He said: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls.” (Mt. 11:29) The outstanding example which Jesus gave us for our imitation was this meekness and humility of heart. We shall have peace of soul only if we are meek and humble.
In what did the humility of Jesus consist? He was God, and He became man. He Who possessed everything was born poor in a wretched stable and lived as a lowly workman for thirty years. He allowed Himself to be betrayed by one of His Apostles, to be sentenced to death as an evildoer, and finally to be executed on the Cross.
He combined humility with gentleness. He was happy when He could receive back penitent sinners and grant them forgiveness and peace. Let us recall the examples of Mary Magdalen, the adulteress, the lost sheep, the prodigal son, and finally the repentant thief to whom He promised the reward of Heaven. What greater gentleness and mercy could we ever find?
To the present day, moreover, Jesus Christ is hidden in the Blessed Eucharist under the consecrated species and appeals to us to imitate and love Him.
When we are disturbed by pride, ambition, or worldly desires, let us go to Jesus and kneel in silence before the Tabernacle. “Learn from me,” He will say to us once more, “for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls.”
2. It is very easy to be gentle and humble when everything is going well for us. It is difficult, however, when we meet humiliation, misunderstanding, or opposition. We need to be well advanced in perfection if we are to have mildness and humility of heart like that of Jesus.
We can only reach this state of perfection by prayer, sacrifice and character formation. Pride, self-love, and the desire to excel are the evil effects of our corrupted nature. St. Francis de Sales jestingly remarked that self-love dies three days after us. It is difficult to remove it completely from our character and to put in its place the love of God and of our neighbour, but this operation is necessary if we are to obtain Christ-like humility and gentleness of heart. God, not our own ego, should be the centre of our lives; He should be the focal point of all our thinking. Let us beseech God for this grace and try and behave in this fashion on all occasions.
When we encounter lack of sympathy, coldness or injustice on the part of our fellowmen, we should try and avoid becoming annoyed or discouraged. The testimony of a sound conscience before God is all that should concern us. We should offer everything else to God, whether it is joy or sorrow, praise or criticism. We shall be rewarded with peace of soul.
3. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.