Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

February 26, 2021

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?
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  1. Antonette Schmidt

    Thank you for offering your heart’s thoughts Erencia. Love to you😊

  2. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM

    The most beautiful reflection on ‘meekness’ I have ever read. Thanks, Erencia

  3. Mary Daly RSM

    Thank you, Erencia, for your perceptive words. I agree with Doris.

  4. Donna Conroy

    Erencia, you have given me a gift in writing and sharing your thoughts, study , prayer and lived experience of meekness. Thank you for all. ❤️

  5. Sr. Vicky Arndorfer

    Thanks for your reflection. It helps me to see meekness in a new light. Thanks for quoting Amanda Gorman.

  6. Mary Sheehan

    “Meekness if like a cool breeze that brings refreshment to your face. . .”
    and this in the face of threatening dangers.

    A sentence that captured me in this reflective gift.

    Thank you.

  7. Ann welch

    Beautiful. A helpful definition when considering non-violence. Thanks

  8. Denise Sausville

    I so appreciate the depth and breadth of this reflection, and the challenge that it presents to my life as I embrace the aging process. Thanks, Erencia!

  9. Jan Powell

    Good morning. Thank you! This is beautiful touching truly helpful. Blessings Jan Powell

  10. Sue Tartaglia

    Beautiful reading

  11. Dan Rooney

    Very timely, especially in the rancid, hateful political and cultural climate we find ourselves in day after day. Thank you for a good description of meekness and how it applies here and now.

  12. Mary Cabrini Taitano

    Si Yuos Maase Rence for your incite full reflection! You’re a gem and a gift you’ve shared.

  13. Carolyn McWatters

    Wow, Erencia, this is breathtaking in its beauty! Controlled strength, controlled power, gentleness, humility, courage…a simply gorgeous reflection. Thank you so much!

  14. Michele

    I was never clear on the difference between being meek and being a pushover, but this reflection spells that out clearly: “… the meek, those who know how to be gentle even when facing serious conflict.” So don’t back down when you should stand up for yourself or someone else, but be gentle in your word and action as you take on the challenge.
    Thanks for this!

  15. Fran Repka

    What a profound reflection on meekness, Erencia!…and from the depths of your heart and contemplation. Thank you for living it as well.

  16. RoseMarie Knight

    Pondering on the last question. What does meekness look like in my life now? A very meaningful thought for this Lenten season. Thank you very much for a clear and concise picture of Meekness. Associate RoseMarie Knight

  17. Eileen McDonnell, RSM

    I fully agree with Doris’s comments. Both profoundly true and beautifully written.
    Thank you.

  18. Doylene Wichlenski

    So proud to be a Mercy Associate. Learning and following the wonderful Sisters who share their powerful spiritual thoughts is a gift. Thank You!

  19. Carol Harbeck

    Such a timely message, especially for me in my new situation. I have moved temporarily in with people totally opposite from my political views, to the point where we have agreed to avoid all such talk! But things slip out!!!

    To me, meekness is acceptance in a 12-Step manner, and use the Serenity Prayer as the tool for practicing being meek instead of my usual opinionated manner. For the beatitude I like least, you have given me lots to pray over. Thank you!!!

  20. linda brooks

    This is such a wonderful beautiful reflection.
    Thank you Sister Erencia Saipweirik.