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December 13, 2010

Homily on the Meekness of Jacob the Patriarch

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"For I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved" (Genesis 32:30).

The God of Abraham and Isaac is also the God of Jacob the faithful, the obedient, the merciful and the meek. The meek beholder of God, Jacob, can be called the "one who saw God". For in truth he was meek, and he saw God and spoke with God, and he saw the angels of God and the ladder from earth to heaven. By his meekness he defeated Laban his father-in-law, and Esau his brother; by his meekness he made peace between his wives, Leah and Rachel; for his meekness he was even dear to pharaoh. Jacob's meekness is a prefiguration of the meekness of Christ.

"Blessed are the meek," said the Lord, "for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). These words were also realized in Jacob. He inherited the land of his fathers; his descendants were delivered from Egypt and inherited the Promised Land; through Christ the Lord, his descendant according to the flesh, he inherited the whole earth, that is, the Church of God which spread over the entire world.

"I have seen God face to face." Jacob saw God in the form of man but not as true man. And even this vision was only a prefiguring of the true Incarnation of God as man. "And my life is preserved." His soul was preserved from fear and from every unrighteousness. If Jacob was preserved by only seeing a vision of God, how much easier is it for us to be preserved who know God as true man and as the God-man.

O meek Lord, the strength and glory of the meek, as Thou didst preserve Jacob by Thy vision, preserve us also by Thy true Body and Blood. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

See also: The Ladder, the Wrestling and the Prophecy of Jacob the Patriarch