Thank you for the good discussion this morning. It is precisely the interplay of meekness and valor that we as fathers/husbands need in frustrating moments with our family. More and more as I ponder them they seem to be two sides of the same coin. Here again is that excerpt from the Abba Challenge prayer:
Holy Spirit, help me cultivate the virtue of chivalry in myself and in others through a life of sacrifice with extreme meekness off the “battlefield” and extreme valor on the “battlefield.”10 With my meekness, which is having the power to fight but not using it, help me create safety for women, children, and the vulnerable. And with my valor help me oppose those who are brutal to or dominate others. Jesus, teach me to rid myself of the extremes of domination, brutality, and passivity, and to leave my mother and father11 so that I can lay down my life for my physical and/or spiritual bride.12
What is valor or bravery if it does not involve a certain carelessness about one’s own safety, comfort, or even success in an endeavor? What is meekness if not a willful surrender by someone who could otherwise fight on? Both valor and meekness involve a death to self, a laying down of one’s life.
In the family setting, especially for we husbands/fathers, meekness is the having of strength and yet letting ourselves be hurt and not fighting back, receiving evil and taking it to the cross, rather than reflecting, transmitting, or compounding it. Think Aslan: immortal, powerful, untamable, but let’s himself be killed for the sake of Edmund. But valor is the balancing factor. It does not mean fighting, per se, but acting rightly and boldly with a disregard for one’s own satisfaction, comfort, safety, or success. It means going out of ourselves to love in active ways – helping, comforting, forgiving, etc – ESPECIALLY when we know full well that we’ll fail, that the response will be negative, that the efforts will be unappreciated, that in many ways our valorous vulnerability will be betrayed. Think Reepicheep: the smallest and most physically vulnerable of the Narnians, yet always the first to leap into battle for the right.
Meekness and valor are the parry and thrust of the spiritual battle for the souls of those around us.
I close with an except of a poem I attempted to write on this subject a while back but never could finish:
How quick the reckless lover vows,
at such that blessed start,
to love and honor and be true,
to never break your heart.
But higher, farther, as I strive,
to learn from love divine,
I’ve found no greater love than this,
To let you, love, break mine.
Let us pray for renewed (or simply new) meekness and valor as we love our families this week. If you get discouraged, listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGzqbEeVWhs
Have a great week gentlemen.