Speaking November 16 at St. Joseph Center, the international headquarters of the School Sisters of St. Francis, Bishop Sklba noted that the historical understanding of meekness is characterized by self-assurance, intentional self control, and a conscious and complete dependence upon God. He noted that the virtue of meekness is praised throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that St. Paul goes so far as to call it a gift of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Sklba’s presentation, to an enthusiastic gathering of nearly 100 participants from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and beyond, was the inaugural address in a quarterly speaker series called “Beatitudes:
In contrast to our modern, less-than-flattering understanding of meekness, Bishop Sklba pointed out that the Book of Numbers calls Moses the meekest of all men.
“The man who had the courage to stand up to Pharoah, lead his people to freedom, and listen to all of the complaints of the Israelites is called the meekest of all,” Bishop Sklba said. “He was meek because he knew that God was the source of his strength.”
Bishop Sklba said that St. Paul’s admonition to “put on the garment of meekness” is a “fashion statement” that Christians can embrace on a daily basis.
“We see the meek today in the rural poor who depend upon God for the success of their harvest, and in people living in the central city who find the strength to continue looking for work,” he said. “We see meekness in small business owners who choose to forgo a paycheck so they can continue paying their employees, and in people living in affluent suburbs who are struggling to feed their families.”
No matter who we are or what our condition, Bishop Sklba said, if we choose to depend upon God and live accordingly, we are promised “a share in the new creation.”
The next presentation in the series will be February 15, 2012, featuring Dr. Timothy O’Connell, professor of ethics with Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies and School of Business Administration. Future presenters include Marcus Mescher, doctoral candidate in Theology and Education at Boston College, on May 9, 2012; and Sister Frances Cunningham, OSF, Director of World Mission Ministries for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, on September 12, 2012.
The School Sisters of St. Francis are an international community of Catholic sisters who unite with others to build a just and peaceful world. Founded in 1874, they now have sisters, associates, staff, donors and volunteers actively working to address the needs of those who are poor and marginalized by society. Their mission is thriving throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and India. In the United States, the community’s members live and minister in 19 states, addressing needs in education, holistic wellness and healing, pastoral ministry, spiritual growth, social justice, and music and the arts. For more information about the School Sisters of St. Francis, please visit www.sssf.org.