Sunday, September 23, 2007

Watering the Seeds of Faith-Meekness

I'm currently on a major prayer quest to add the virtue of meekness to my life. In mid July, in the midst of yet another "I lost my temper with the kids X number of times this month" confession, I just broke down and asked my priest "what can I do about this?"

The priest said that it is not enough to just attempt to resist my ingrained "sin" pattern. Instead, I should also try to strengthen the corresponding virtue to that sin. I got the mental image of going to physical therapy. Because I am now lifting the weight of three children & have a natural tendency towards anger, I need to do some serious stomach crunches with the virtue of meekness.

Of course, I'd NEVER heard of the virtue of meekness. Who trains themselves to be meek in today's world? But after some Internet research, I stumbled onto this

valuable Beatitudes site

Now my working definition is "restraint of anger in the event of provoking circumstances." Here I am, in the midst of some very provoking circumstances and practicing trying to get a handle of that whiplash of a temper and angry tongue of mine.

I'll keep you updated on my inchworm slow progress on this matter. Here are the few pitifully slow measures I've been able to implement over the past six weeks.

-If I do insist on fighting with my husband (wrongly) over whether I, as an anemic breastfeeding mother, still have to take my yucky tasting prenatal vitamins, I can at least force myself to sit down on the floor when I hear my voice starting to rise in anger. This is my physical cue to stop arguing and start implementing meekness.

-I've discovered that praying to the child's guardian angel when a kid is on a disobedience kick really helps. This changes the discussion from "WHY AREN'T YOU LISTENING TO ME" to, "Guardian angel please help (said child) to learn skill of following directions." (As a former Protestant, I didn't even really register that kids had guardian angels until I noticed this month that their upcoming feast day is on October 2. I'm still feel pretty awkward praying to them, but am going with the mantra that practice makes perfect)

-If I'm losing the battle to control my temper, it is possible to take a break from the family, stare at a tree, and remind myself that I have just taken the Eucharist. (Done today at a Sheetz Gas Station on I-79 in the midst of a five hour car trip.)

Have you successfully conquered a frequent sin like gossip or losing your temper? Do you have any insights on the importance of meekness?