“I’m really upset right now. Can we please talk later?”

This phrase in the Virtue Field Guide struck me as I was deciding what to write about meekness. The virtue of meekness means serenity of spirit while focusing on the needs of others. As a related or daughter virtue of temperance, it is one which aids us in regulating our emotions, particularly anger and frustration.

Notice how the phrase requires self-knowledge and the ability to know that now may not be the time to talk. This is a great example of how we can take up our emotions into virtue and move them to be governed by reason (CCC 1768). Often, we can experience the discomfort of our emotions and feelings and rush into a “quick fix” or an incomplete resolution. Of course, there are also situations when an immediate reaction of anger is justified. We witness this when Jesus turns over the tables in the temple (Mark 11: 15-18). Both kinds of situations require putting self-knowledge and virtue into action.

During the closing days of Lent, I invite you to be more aware of those times when your emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues. You will witness this in Jesus, the perfectly virtuous man, as He remains serene while being betrayed, falsely accused, scourged, spat upon, mocked, crowned with thorns, stripped naked, and nailed to a cross. Why? For our salvation and to restore us to God’s love and friendship.

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