Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Martha
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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 11:55am | IP Logged Quote Martha

note: discussion originated from this thread: Duggar's New Book

okay.. hormonal just had a baby woman here...
take it easy on me please....
I've been dying to ask this question for 2 months (years?) now and am just now getting the courage.

on another board the question was raised on how to strive to be a woman with a "meek and quiet spirit".

now I really don't have anything against a woman with such a spirit. I've been quite fond of a few of them.

BUT this is the part that makes me squirm:
it presumes that a good christian woman/wife/mother is one with a meek and quiet spirit and thus we shoudl all strive to be like that.

is that true?
is that the only way I can be a good mother?
is it not even remotely posible that God created me to have a different spirit or that my children need a less quiet less meek mother to follow God's will?

I'm NOT saying I shouldn't strive to be a kinder person - of course we all should. But I don't associate kind with meek/quiet neccessarily.

I guess it makes me feel like a failure without hope of ever attaining better to read all the advice on how to be meek and quiet and submissive and gentle. Those qualities... well my dh says I have them, but they aren't shown in the obvious ways. In my childhood, having those qualities meant you didn't survive past age 3 without your spirit/heart being squashed like a bug.

Is there no hope that a women who is not and probably never will be a Michelle Duggar kind of gal to still be a good christian/wife/mother?

I have really enjoyed reading stories about the mother's of saints, many of which were saints themselves. And surprisingly there's quite a few that weren't all that meek and quiet. I can better identify with them.

In our efforts to strive to be like what we think is a better mother, I wonder if we forget that we must strive more to be the mother each of our children need us to be - and it might not be that model we are striving for. As a mother of 9, this is so very hard for me. Each of these children are different and need a slightly different mothering. It's probably the one constant prayer I utter every day - to not be like that mom, but to be the mother each of them need me to be and for God to make up the difference when I surely fail.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:01pm | IP Logged Quote Bookswithtea

Martha, I don't think having a meek and quiet spirit (which is from scripture so yes, I'd say its something we all strive to be) precludes being a strong woman. And I think it will look different on different women. I want to be gentler, but I will never sound sing songy like Michelle Duggar because I'm just not made that way...not my temperament at all. Meek and quiet have to do with virtue, not personality traits in the more stereotypical way, imho.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:12pm | IP Logged Quote Mackfam

Martha - Meek, quiet and gentle do not equal weak. Our Lady is the perfect example. She is the model of the perfect woman and as such was perfectly meek and gentle. She certainly was not weak. How could she have stood at the Foot of the Cross and watched her Son, the Son of God crucified if she were not also strong? She herself prompted Our Lord to perform His first miracle at Cana. So, though she is gentle and meek, she isn't always quiet.

A few things for you to consider...Elizabeth posted an extraordinary article by Fr. Hardon on gentleness - it's worth the read.

Also, you might read through this recent thread on Cultivating the Virtue of Gentleness. I think it's safe to say that a number of the mothers that posted there are of different personalities yet all striving to emulate Our Lady's Gentleness.

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Martha
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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:18pm | IP Logged Quote Martha

Bookswithtea wrote:
Meek and quiet have to do with virtue, not personality traits in the more stereotypical way, imho.


well, I am more than willing to accept that.

however, I have NEVER seen these qualities discussed in that manner. It has always been presented as:

She is meek and quiet, thus she is a woman of virtue.

So I guess I'd be interested in seeing how one can attain the virtue while not nesseccarily being a meek and quiet person?

For example, there's much ado about Michelle Duggar never raising her voice. The implication being that a mother who does raise her voice at times is less virtuous than Michelle Duggar? I've meet a couple mothers that never or very rarely raise their voice. It's nice. But I don't see them as more virtuous. And one I know is not virtuous at all.

Just trying to sort this out for my own sake...

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:26pm | IP Logged Quote Martha

Mackfam wrote:
Martha - Meek, quiet and gentle do not equal weak. Our Lady is the perfect example.


No. I know that. And didn't think I said otherwise?

I'm not worried about being weak anyways. We're all weak to some extent, it's just part of being human. Being weak is not nesseccarily a sign that one isn't virtuous. In fact, when we are our weakest is often when we most seek God?

I've always thought Our Lady was a very tough lady. I don't know if what we consider meek and quiet is exactly how she was though? Maybe I need a good definition or example of meek and quiet?

Again, just trying to get this sorted for my own sake, not trying to argue against having a meek and quiet spirit itself.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:28pm | IP Logged Quote JodieLyn

Well, I don't think that quiet necessarily translates to vocally quiet loud can juse be loud, not hard or harsh or nasty. While quiet could be all those things.. when you're just speaking of volume.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:42pm | IP Logged Quote Lisbet

Martha, You've got my wheels turning here...

If a woman is naturally quiet, reserved, and meek - how virtous is that? (I'm just thinking outloud here...) But if a woman works on yelling less, pausing before speaking, not barking out orders, etc... then she is growing in virtue -right? Hmmmmmm...

(I'm not talking about Michelle Duggar here, just feeling out Martha's thoughs...)

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 12:58pm | IP Logged Quote PDyer

From what I've read of many female saints, it seems to me they had the courage of their convictions but they were not harsh or brazen in speaking about them. I'm considering Mother Teresa...she made some hard-for-some-to-hear statements (thinking of her statements about abortion specifically), but she said what she thought needed to be said without rancor, and left the results up to God.

Good food for thought. How *does one define a meek and quiet spirit?

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 1:04pm | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

I think that you are right--gooey sweet and quiet does not always equal virtuous.

Maybe this is a bad example, so, bear with me, but as a talker, I have felt very convicted when reading about the saints, spiritual growth, and contemplative prayer, I am struck with how *idle talk* is considered sinful. St. Theresa of Avila says over and over that one of her keenest regrets is the time she spent yapping about God in her early years at the convent. She was speaking of GOD, but she feels she indulged in it too much.

Fr. Thomas Dubay, in his book Fire Within, speaks of signs of spiritual decline--one of the most marked being the dominating of conversations.

So, in that sense, being the life of the party could be less virtuous, or rather, listening more than speaking and speaking carefully such that all you say is fruitful, is connected to increased virtue.

I am SOOOOOOO far from this (sanguine here, LOVE being the center of attention --and yacking away , but I do think that, or more definitely, pray that as I grow in virtue, I will become quieter and less boisterous and guard my words quite carefully.

Is that helpful? I could try to find the passages from Theresa's autobiography where she addresses this. I don't envision Theresa of Avila to much like Michelle Duggar at all! I an quite certain that we don't all have to make every word we say drip with honey in order to be virtuous people! But, as hard as it is to admit to myself, I do think being quieter in the sense that we say less can be closely connected with perfecting oneself.

I don't think it is so much the mannerisms of Michelle Duggar that speak of her virtue but rather the self-control she exhibits. She is herself at her most pleasant most of the time. I hope that I can learn to show my family the best side of myself more often than not.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 1:11pm | IP Logged Quote JodieLyn

I found This is an project to put the 1910 version of the New Catholic Dictionary online

Quote:
Meekness - The virtue which moderates anger, checking its disorderly effects. It is reducible to temperance. In a wider sense it controls every disorderly affection leading one to resent another's action. Saint James sees in it the general purification of soul required for the practise of the Gospel precepts already accepted by faith.


not finding just "quiet"

Quote:
prayer of quiet - A peaceful internal pleasantness proceeding from the soul which is attracted and captivated by the charms of Divine Presence. It is a spiritual repose, the result of contemplative love. This prayer is the gift of wisdom, which by its light shows God present, and makes the soul experience His presence by a most pleasing sensation of the spirit. The sweet delight enjoyed expands itself into the powers and faculties of the soul.




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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 1:31pm | IP Logged Quote Rachel May

Martha wrote:
Maybe I need a good definition or example of meek and quiet?


I don't know if this will help, but maybe it will get thoughts moving? I think of a quiet spirit as being the same as one that has a "peace that the world can not give". This doesn't mean that one who has a peaceful spirit is always peaceful or restful. And the inner spirit itself can be strong willed, but it has a firm foundation of faith which turns and clings to its Creator in the worst of storms and rests in Him in the quiet times and searches for Him in the deserts.

To me a meek spirit is a teachable one. It is not obstinate and brittle but instead is supple and able to be formed more closely to the image of its Creator.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 1:42pm | IP Logged Quote KASB

More food for thought from the great Father Hardon -

Blessed are the Meek and Gentle

"Who are meek people? Meek people are those people who control their anger. We all have a temper. I tell people youíve got a temper, when necessary use it but never loose it. Keep it in control. Meekness is therefore the virtue which controls irascibility. There are so many things that can provoke us to anger and so many people. When it is people as I said before they are just being themselves, thatís the trouble they are just being themselves. Oblivious of how they are provoking those who may have to practice heroic patience to not say something or do something. But it is not just people who can provoke us to anger it is situations."

Meekness

"Before we go on I am willing to point something out that we are liable to miss because of the words misunderstanding of what gentleness and what meekness mean. I really believe for many people meekness is weakness and gentleness is cowardice. It is not too many people, surely not those who donít share our faith, who realize that in order to be meek and gentle we must be strong. You wonít expect what I am going to say next. We are indeed to be meek and gentle, restrain our anger, show kindness, but remember it is not charity and it is not following the gentle Christ if we indiscriminately show meekness and kindness. Remember Jesus couldnít have been more gentle or meek when He spoke to the scribes and Pharisees. Remember what He told them? Remember the way He drove the money changers out of the temple? Remember? In other words there is such a thing as righteous indignation and sinless anger. I mean it. Parents who have authority over their children it would be sheer folly on their parts to not reprove or reprimand and rebuke. Recall the occasion when Christ told Simon you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church. Go back to the Gospel of St. Matthew. Read on the next few verses. The Savior foretold His passion the man who was just told he would be the rock on whom Christ would build His church told Jesus, Lord donít do it. Donít go to Jerusalem and have those Pharisees get hold of you. Do you know what Jesus told Peter? The man whom He had just called the rock, He called him, Satan. This is the gentle Jesus. There are some devastating crimes being committed in the world today. Crimes against God and against man in the degree to which we are in authority, have a right to do so and a corresponding responsibility we are indeed to be meek and gentle, but we are not to be afraid, to correct, and rebuke and in this too we are following Jesus Christ."

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 2:30pm | IP Logged Quote Bookswithtea

Martha, I was getting more at what Kym and Jodie posted. Being quiet does not really encompass the virtue of quietness. I think of knowing when to speak and when not to. I think of speaking of what is beautiful, lovely, holy rather than other things. I think of always assuming the best in others.

Our Lord was meek...and he overturned the tables with cords made into whips! I think the confusion is that our society has stereotyped meek and quiet.

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 5:19pm | IP Logged Quote Martha

Quote:
I think the confusion is that our society has stereotyped meek and quiet.


I think this is what bothers me. What it means to be meek and quiet is NOT what is being promoted. Rather they are attributing the name "virtue" to the acts of being submissive and silent, when in reality the acts themselves may not have any virtue to them. They may even be signs of a resigned or resentful heart.

I've got a son who can be very meek and quiet by some standards - what people don't know is for this child it's a sign of deep anger for him to act that way. Many people don't understand why I refuse to accept that behavior because after all he's behaving and quiet, which is the goal to them - right? Well that's not good enough for me. I want the heart issue dealt with and I'm willing to deal with a screaming fit to do so.

ug. did that make any sense?

The definition of meek that Kym gave was very good and far more what I think of as genuine virtue.

Maybe the problem is that our society has come to view any strong stance, whether forcefully given or not, as not compatible with a meek and quiet spirit, thus much of the advice on this is focused on being submissive and quiet part rather than the heart of the actions?

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Posted: Jan 15 2009 at 6:18pm | IP Logged Quote CrunchyMom

Martha wrote:
thus much of the advice on this is focused on being submissive and quiet part rather than the heart of the actions?


I think the reason it is focused on is because this is something that so many of us struggle with. It, of course, isn't universal, but it seems that when moms vent, most confess having issues with controlling our temper--and generally that is to keep ourselves from screaming, huffing, snarling, rolling our eyes, etc...

I suppose we could also have discussions on how not to brood, pout, etc..., but I feel sometimes its easier--and perhaps more obvious for the more immediate influence it has on our families--to address the outward expressions of our anger.

Perhaps the reason that Michelle Duggar is an example in this is because she isn't simply silent--she is pleasant. She doesn't merely avoid screaming, she avoids most expressions of exasperation. This does seem to come from an inner calmness and serenity she has an not from some sort of bitterness.

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Posted: Jan 16 2009 at 1:53pm | IP Logged Quote SuzanneG

**Created a new thread for this, and tranferred the discussion here.

Meek and Quiet Mothering--stemming from the Duggar's New Book thread

Please continue....Good discussion!

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Posted: Jan 16 2009 at 2:12pm | IP Logged Quote Rachel May

Martha wrote:
Maybe the problem is that our society has come to view any strong stance, whether forcefully given or not, as not compatible with a meek and quiet spirit, thus much of the advice on this is focused on being submissive and quiet part rather than the heart of the actions?


I agree, and submission is equated to being a doormat. I know someone who talks a lot about being a good submissive wife, but really her husband runs roughshod over her and she takes it. I think even submission can be a virtue....I'm digressing...

I do see your point about the "heart" issue....I think it's very wise.

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Posted: Jan 16 2009 at 3:49pm | IP Logged Quote Maggie

CrunchyMom wrote:
Perhaps the reason that Michelle Duggar is an example in this is because she isn't simply silent--she is pleasant. She doesn't merely avoid screaming, she avoids most expressions of exasperation. This does seem to come from an inner calmness and serenity she has an not from some sort of bitterness.


In their book, she humbly confesses that she did have a problem with anger...and even said that she would use euphemisms when talking about this with others...euphemisms like "frustrated", "exasperated", etc...when it all really boiled down to anger.

She said that another mom advised her that the next time she wanted to get angry and raise her voice, that she should talk as quietly as she can. She said that that has helped immensely.

So...as I struggle with anger myself...I tried that bit of advice...and it is very helpful for me!

In the above comments, I like the definitions of Meekness and Gentleness from Fr. Hardon. What clarification!

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Posted: Jan 21 2009 at 8:32am | IP Logged Quote littlemenmom

I have also been trying very hard to lower my voice (as in the Duggar book) instead of getting louder.
The other night I was sensing the quieter atmosphere at dinner time. In our house dinner time is so loud, and so frustrating it almost brings me to tears. I have 8 boys and everynight I have to go through the same litany of who does what in order to get the table set and every night this becomes LOUD and frustrating. A few weeks ago (afte reading the Duggar book) I started lowering my voice as we prepared to sit down for dinner. After several nights of this I was struck suddenly by the more peaceful way dinner time prep was unfolding. I couldn't believe it!
A few days later my brother came over for dinner and out of the clear blue sky he says to me "this is the quietest it has ever been here"...I was swelling inside after hearing this and it further encouraged me to keep trying to be a more gentle and quiet mother!
Something I thought impossible since my boys seemed to respond better to a drill sergeant type mother...well, maybe not!

Kathryn (who hopes that long post made any sense )
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Posted: Jan 21 2009 at 9:37am | IP Logged Quote hmbress

A dear priest once explained to me that in the past, the word meek was also a verb, i.e. "to meek a horse". Meekness is strength under control. With a horse that has taken to the bit, the horse and the rider become as one. The horse is meek because he is submissive for a purpose, (as long as he is treated well). He is completely under control.

With that understanding I am more willing to seek this meekness - how strong I would be if I were truly docile to God's will, never fighting the bit of His leading, submissive (sub-mission: my mission being under God's on the organization chart!) to the One who always treats me well.

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