Day four: Blessed are the meek
Monday, Sept. 4, 2023
22nd week in Ordinary Time
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5).
On the fourth day of the novena before the beatification of the Ulma family, today we want to consider Jesus’ beatitude that emphasizes gentleness and patiently enduring life’s adversities. We do this during Mass, referring to the word of God from the Mass readings. In the light of these, we will draw attention to the nature of gentleness, which should characterize his disciples in imitation of their Master.
Józef and Wiktoria Ulma were meek. It was thanks to their gentleness, which was the extraordinary strength of their souls, that they were able to face all the challenges of life up to martyrdom. Thanks to this, they were always able to behave with dignity, as befits disciples and followers of Jesus Christ. Let us awaken in ourselves the desire for a similar lifestyle. As we embrace this grace, let us apologize to God for all our sins and negligence in situations that require us to be particularly meek and humble.
– Jesus invites us to learn gentleness and meekness from him. We do this when we approach him and take up “his yoke,” that is, his teaching. This teaching strengthens our love and we are increasingly capable of denying ourselves and taking up our daily cross. Let us be drawn to the gentleness and meekness of Jesus. May it move our hearts so that they do not become hardened and insensitive to the voice of God’s revelation.
– We can win others for Christ through our witness of respect and gentleness in the spirit of the Gospel. In the first place, this applies to people who are outside the church, to strangers and unbelievers. Within the church, gentleness is especially needed towards indifferent and sinful people. Let us ask to be able to act like this towards others and to “bear with one another through love” (Eph 4:2).
– Meekness should in particular be the attribute of pastors, parents, teachers and educators. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather, as in the case of the Ulmas, a testament to an inner strength which helps control emotions and more vehement reactions. Not being meek, we are unable to offer spiritual support to others, listen to them, understand them, and admonish them as our sisters and brothers. Let us apologize to Christ for our violent, pretentious, and malicious behavior towards those who annoy or criticize us and those who are disobedient or unkind to us.
Images credit: From the archive of Mateusz Szptyma. All rights reserved.
Learn More About the Ulma Family
Under the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, Jews were indiscriminately arrested, imprisoned, and killed. Christians who helped them hide or escape placed themselves in the same peril. Josef and Wiktoria Ulma, who, guided by the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was underlined in red ink in the family Bible, sheltered a Jewish family in their village of Markowa. As a result, in 1944, Josef, Wiktoria, and their seven small children – one not yet born – were murdered by the Nazis. This biography tells the story of the heroic virtue and sacrifice that lead to their beatification.