Pope Francis speaks to nuns and young believers during his general audience at the Vatican on Feb. 19. (Photo: AFP)
The meek are patient, gentle and merciful, drawing people together and salvaging relationships, Pope Francis says.
Meekness involves holding onto one's trust in and relationship with God and guarding his gifts of peace, mercy and fraternity, the pope said during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on Feb. 19.
The pope continued his talks on the Eight Beatitudes by reflecting on the third beatitude, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land."
It seems strange that meekness and inheriting land are somehow related, the pope said. But it is rooted in Psalm 37:3-11, which tells believers to trust in the Lord, refrain from anger, be patient and "make your righteousness shine" for then shall they "inherit the earth" and "delight in great prosperity."
"That land is a promise and a gift for the people of God," he said. It is heaven — that "new earth" that God has made for his children.
"The meek are those who 'inherit' the most sublime of territories," Pope Francis said. "They are not cowards, weak, looking for some fallback moral principle in order to steer clear of trouble. Far from it!"
Whether a person is meek is seen during moments of conflict, crisis or pressure, he said, since it's easy to seem meek when life goes smoothly.
Meekness is what Jesus displayed during his passion since, according to St. Peter, Jesus returned no insult and did not threaten.
"The meek are not people pleasers but are Christ's disciples who have learned to defend a whole other land," he said. "People who are meek are people who are merciful, fraternal, trusting and hopeful."
To talk about meekness, the pope said, it is important also to talk about the sin of wrath.
"A moment of anger can destroy so many things; you lose control and you don't evaluate what is really important and you can ruin a relationship" with someone, sometimes irreparably, he said.
"Meekness conquers many things. Meekness is able to win over hearts, salvage friendships and much more," he said.
It's natural to get angry, he said, but then people should "calm down, rethink it and get back on track and this is how you can rebuild with meekness."
"There is no earth more beautiful than the heart of another person," he said, "no land more wonderful to win over than that peace" re-established with another, and this is the land the meek shall inherit.