“Meekness,” for Vincent does not convey the full meaning in English. More adequate might be “firm gentleness,” meaning the right balance between being gently strong and strongly gentle. This is a trait Vincent sees in Jesus and often advises his followers to put into practice.

A servant who would gain the confidence of the poor would have to be very approachable, genuinely welcoming, have deep respect for others.

Vincent is this kind of servant. Though he was what we would call today a “professional,” (ordained, with degrees, at the head of organizations), and though he was known to move in the highest circles of power, his contemporaries noted how easy he was to meet, no matter the station of the person in front of him.

Not that patience and gentility came naturally to him; he admits he had to work for years at moderating what he knew was an angry temperament within himself. Looking back on his days of ministering to prisoners, he once remarked: “Whenever I happened to speak abruptly to the convicts, I spoiled everything. But whenever I praised them for their acceptance and showed them compassion, whenever I sympathized with them rather than scold them, when I kissed their chains and showed how upset I was when they were punished, then they always listened to me and even turned to God

Vincent showed us how to give himself to others in this “meek” way because he is convinced that he himself is being cherished by Jesus’ Abba, that he is “The Beloved” of God.

For Vincent, our Lord is eternal meekness toward us, forgiving, patient, gentle and loving