John Ruusbroec: Meekness and Kindness

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A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. Psalm 37:10-11

“From the same source which gives rise to meekness there also arises kindness, for only a meek person can be kind. This kindness makes a person present a loving appearance and give affable responses and do all kinds of benevolent deeds for those who are quarrelsome, in the hope that they will come to see themselves as they are and amend their ways. Through graciousness and kindness, charity remains living and fruitful in a person, for a heart of kindness is like a lamp full of precious oil. This oil of kindness enlightens erring sinners through good example, and it salves and heals through comforting words and deeds those whose hearts are wounded, grieved, or embittered. Though the fire of charity it provides a flame and bright light for those who are living virtuous lives, and neither jealousy nor disfavor can harm it.”

John Ruusbroec (1293-1381) in The Spiritual Espousals (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1985) 58-59.

When we combine kindness with generosity we enlighten the erring through our example and we bring healing wherever we go.

In practical terms, we get to “give affable [or friendly] responses and do all kinds of benevolent deeds for those who are quarrelsome.”

This is not easy. Frankly, it’s downright difficult. Furthermore, it’s the opposite of how our flesh and the world leads us to interact with such people.

When, however, with God’s power, we do this, we inherit the land and enjoy peace in a world filled with wounds, griefs, and bitterness.

Our lives shine like bright lights in dark places, and we radiate with beauty like this the sunset last evening in the header photo.

Father, make meekness, kindness, and generosity spring from our lives people, so that others may find light and life. Hear our prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.