Blessed are the meek…
The dictionary, as one of its definitions, has meek as “overly submissive or compliant; spiritless; tame” and most people have this opinion when they read this passage, but that is not the meaning of the Greek word πραεῖς (praeîs). The Greeks would use πραεῖς to refer to someone or something whose strength is under control, like a soldier who does not attack unless ordered, or a police dog who is gentle and calm unless ordered to strike, then the full power of the dog is unleashed.
But, even when the dog is attacking its strength and will are fully under control. A single word from its owner and the dog is back to being a lovable, gentile animal. This is what Jesus was speaking of when he said, “Blessed are the meek…”, not the cowardly lion, but a person who is able to control the anger and rage within in him.
In this world we are constantly set upon by people, things, and events that bring up the rage and anger within. Jesus tells us that we will be happier (blessed) if we can control that anger, it is through the control of our rage that we will inherit the land.
Think of the people who, through their mild mannered (not weak) approach were able to attain what they were after, where as those before them, through a strong handed approach, could not.
When you feel that anger well up inside of you, consider Jesus’ message and take the opportunity to control it rather than allow it to rage out of control. Anger controlled and allowed to be used as a driving force for good will accomplish what outrage cannot.
3 thoughts on “μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς…”
That is an excellent explanation if meekness. I have been one to misunderstand its meaning from the Biblical perspective. Now, it makes more sense only because we can never makes strides in our world as Christians by being “door mats.” I like your last statement:
“Anger controlled and allowed to be used as a driving force for good will accomplish what outrage cannot.”
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Pope St. Gregory I wrote of the “Seven Deadly Sins” where he listed actions which lead to other sins, and so are to be avoided. His list came from the writings of an Eastern monk, Evagrius Ponticus, who created a list of eight passions. Sadly, by labeling them as “sins” Gregory lost sight of the duality of the passions.
Passions, like anger (wrath), have two sides, an evil (sinful) side, but also a good side. If we focus on the negative and try to avoid the evil side we fail too easily, Eastern thought says not to avoid anger, but to redirect it to good. The difference is as vast as the difference between the words “sin” and “passion”. Sin has no saving grace to it, it is simply bad, but having a passion for something can be bad or good. When we see our fellow man being mistreated and it wells anger up in us that anger can be directed to violence against the perpetrator, or it can be refocused to change the hearts and minds of the perpetrator, and the laws that permit it.
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Reblogged this on Annie.