Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

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For Lent this year, we have asked eight sisters and associates to reflect on the Beatitudes and offer ways in which we may embrace these blessings in our own Lenten journeys. There will be additional reflections published for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Easter.

By Sister Erencia Saipweirik

“Meek” is defined in one dictionary as enduring injury with patience and without resentment. It also says that meekness is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. We often think meekness is synonymous with weakness, but the third Beatitude tells us otherwise.

Like the other Beatitudes, this one is about Jesus himself, the meek one. Jesus must have considered meekness as one of his most treasured qualities, for he tells us to learn from him, who is meek and humble of heart.

For the Sisters of Mercy 2021 Lenten blog series, artist and writer Sister Renee Yann created images to evoke the spirit of the Beatitudes and the blessed journey of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Click here to read how she describes her inspiration

Being meek, according to Jesus, is not to lack courage; it is not to be weak or to be a pushover. Meekness is not a lack of confidence in judgement, and it is not cowardice. It is not indifference, nor is it a go-along-to-get-along kind of attitude. To be meek is to have controlled strength, controlled power. Meekness is like a cool breeze that brings refreshing air to one’s face, even though we know a full-force wind can do catastrophic damage. It is a comforting medicine that brings relief and healing, although to abuse medication can cause great harm. It is a wild animal that is tamed and trained to be useful or helpful where once it was dangerous.

Meekness is great power to be used rightly. It is not to be used to oppress or overpower, but like Jesus himself, to be used for the benefit and the good of others—to empower, to lift up, to serve and to bless all to the glory of God. To be meek is to be gentle, to be humble, to be considerate and to be courteous.

In the words of the Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman:

We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.

“The Hill we Climb,” January 20, 2021

As Christians, we are called by Jesus to share the Gospel message in gentleness and meekness. In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus says to us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus reminds us in this verse that we humbly acknowledge our dependence on the goodness and grace of God. We are to refrain from revenge and being thin-skinned. Meekness is to let God be our protector and vindicator. As followers of Jesus, we have the power to take on adversity and criticism without lashing out against those who come against us. It is so easy to hurt those who have hurt us, to want to do unto others what they have done to us. But Jesus tells us to treat others how we want to be treated. Jesus is inviting us to reject the desire for revenge and to believe that the future belongs to the meek, those who know how to be gentle even when facing serious conflict.

Let us think for a minute of Jesus, the one who stood before his accusers and did nothing to defend himself. The one who was tormented, laughed at, betrayed, lied about, spat upon and sentenced to death even though he was without sin or wrongdoing. As he hung upon that cross, he looked at those who had put him there and said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” The meek are those who quietly submit themselves to God’s word, who speak no evil of another and are gentle toward all (Titus 3:2). The eyes, energy and belief of the meek fix only on God.

I would like to end my reflection with more beautiful words from Amanda Gorman:

For there was always light.
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

“The Hill We Climb,” January 20, 2021

The following are some questions to reflect upon this Lenten Season:

  • As you contemplate the phrase “blessed are the meek,” what grabs your heart?
  • What characteristic of the meek most stands out to you and why?
  • In what way is God inviting you to grow in meekness this Lenten season?
  • What does meekness look like in your life now? Would you say that you are pursuing the benefit and blessing of others, or is your own prosperity the driving force of your life?