Thursday, June 10, 2010

Patience with Hope Leads to Meekness and Humility

As we practice patience and are able to endure our troubles with Hope, we will find that we begin to develop humility and meekness*.

Fr. Dimitru Staniloae says,
Meekness is a firm disposition of the mind  and is unaffected either by honors or insults.  It means to be unaffected by the disappointments which your neighbor has caused you and to pray sincerely for him.  It is the rock that arises above the sea of anger.
Meekness is not a weakness as many tend to think. It is a positive force aimed at the healing of hate. It is the meek person who is able to put himself into the shoes of others and to clearly see their point of view and understand their situation.  With meekness one is able to take into consideration many dimensions of a situation.  One who is meek has actions that are congruous with his thoughts.  Fr. Dimitru says, "By meekness the soul approaches simplicity."

Humility is the opposite of pride.
Fr. Dimitru Staniloae defines humility as follows:
Humility is the supreme consciousness and living both of the divine infinity and our own littleness. It is at the same time the consciousness that the divine infinity pierces everything and everybody around us... As long as there is a trace of pride in us, we lack the thrill of contact with God; we lack the profound consciousness of a deeper relationship with God, and neither do we make others feel it.... Only the humble lives in the immeasurable depths, full of mystery, in God.... The humble person, far from becoming poor, embraces the infinite more than anybody else and offers it to others.
To know God we must become humble and meek. This is an essential lesson.   As Fr. Dimitru says, "only the humble lives... in God."  Becoming humble is a total surrender of the ego-self.  It is as if one becomes nothing. One becomes pure and a reflector of divine light. This is for sure an advanced state of spiritual development.

Fr. Dimitru writes,
If he only accepts this role of being nothing but a reflector and a receiver of divine light, he has a tremendous destiny: that of living with the infinite. If he is ashamed of this role and is filled with his own smoke, he can no longer see anything even in himself.
So reflect on this image of being "filled with your own smoke."  This "smoke" is what needs to be cleared away for us to be able to see God and to join with Him in what we call theosis.  To see the divine light first the room must be cleared of all the "smoke."

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

The Greek word for meekness--prautes--has nothing in it of this negative and weak implication. It is in fact quite a strong word meaning "openness to God and man." As such, it implies a determined effort toward a conciliatory attitude. Applied to human relationships it involves tolerance and flexibility. In the relationship to God it implies a readiness to accept His Word and His will.

Reference: Orthodox Spirituality, pp 180 - 184


  1. Father, when historically these doctrines developed and first started ?

  2. This is the teaching of Jesus Christ, the ultimate example of humility. It has be taught throughout the ages in the Orthodox Church.

  3. Yes, yes, i know this. Just interested to read more about how Orthodoxy started their doctrines about Theosis, etc

    1. Can you be moe specific? Maybe start with one doctrine. All do train comes from the teaching of the Apostles and the Tradition of the Church as affirmed in the seven Ecumenical councils.

    2. Hello Father, yes, there are many topics here on your website. I was fascinated reading about stopping the passions and moving later into the sacred life. Probably commented under the post which does not refer to my question. But this was an answer i needed, where to start looking. Never heard of the 7 ecumenical councils, i am quite unversed Orthodox lady, thank you


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