Blessed are the meek 2/28/18

Good evening everyone.

We’re going to look at the next Beautitude that Jesus preached in His Sermon on the Mount. Before I jump into that, I wanted to share a personal experience I had that exemplifies what today’s Beautitude is about:

About 20 years ago, I was flying from Boston, MA to Southern Oregon to attend a 4 day meditation conference. I had been practicing the meditation techniques taught by the leaders of this conference for a few years and I was very excited. I had taken time off from work and spent my own money for the flight, conference and hotel fees.

My flight had a short layover in Denver. But when I arrived in Denver, I discovered that many flights – including mine – had been cancelled due to poor weather. I joined a very long line of other frustrated travellers to see what my options were. I was very upset that I might not be able to make the first part of the conference. I began to pray fervently in my mind – I begged God to please let me get on a flight that day, so that I wouldn’t have to miss the conference. I reminded God (as if he needed reminding!) that the conference was a spiritual one and that I had spent money and vacation time for the sole purpose of being with Him. I worked myself up to quite a frenzy!

When it was my turn at the counter, the frazzled airline ticket agent took my information and started searching on her computer. As she shook her head and said, “I don’t see anything for today, but perhaps tomorrow morning…” it suddenly occurred to me that maybe God didn’t want me on the next flight. Maybe the flight I wanted to get on was going to crash or maybe I was supposed to meet someone in the airport. I immediately stopped my tyrade and prayed, “God, you know I want to go to that conference, but let Your Will be done.”

In that instant, the ticket agent’s eyes opened wide and she said, “Wait a second – where did that come from?….I see an open seat in the next flight.” After a few more clicks, she said, “well, I don’t know how that happened, but I’m going to grab it before someone else does.” Five minutes later, she was handing me a ticket for the next flight. I arrived only 3 hours behind schedule and was able to attend the entire conference.

My willingness to trust in God and surrender to His Will is exactly what this week’s Beautitude is about.

The Sermon on the Mount is found in the very first book of the New Testament – in the Book of Matthew.

Reading I: Matthew 4:23: Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.

This passage in Matthew sets the stage for Jesus to begin his Sermon on the Mount – he has drawn great crowds to him because of his preaching and healing of others.

Reading 2: Matthew 5:1-5: When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there’s is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.

Today’s Beautitude is: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.

What does Jesus mean by “meek?” Today’s definition of meek implies weakness, being someone’s doormat. But the Bible uses the word “meek,” to describe an attitude of great strength through humility and surrender to God’s will. In the Book of Numbers, Moses is described as “meek”: Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the Earth. (Book of Numbers, Chapter 12)

And we all know that Moses was the opposite of a weak and cowering doormat!

So, when Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek,” he is saying, “Blessed are those, who show great strength through humility and the willingness to surrender one’s life to God’s Will.”

Now let’s look at the second part of the Beautitude, “for they will inherit the Earth.” What does Jesus mean by “inherit the Earth?” We’re going to read from Emmett Fox’ Sermon on The Mount for this.

Reading 3 Sermon on the Mount, by Emmett Fox:: When the Bible talks about the earth – possessing the earth, governing the earth, making the earth glorious and so forth – it is referring to the conditions of our lives from our bodily health outwards to the farthest point in our affairs. So this text undertakes to tell us how we may possess, or govern, to be masters of our own lives and destinies. So, “inherit the Earth” means to become masters of our own lives – to become co-creators with God.

The Beautitude – Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth – says that dominion, that is power over the conditions of our lives, is to be obtained in a certain way, and in the most unexpected of all ways – by nothing less than meekness.

The true significance of the word, “meek” in the Bible is a mental attitude for which there is no other single word available, and it is this mental attitude, which is the secret of “prosperity” or success in prayer. It is a combination of open-mindedness, faith in God, and the realization that the Will of God for us is always something joyous and interesting and vital, and much better than anything we could think of for ourselves. This state of mind also includes a perfect willingness to allow this Will of God to come about in whatever way Divine Wisdom considers to be best, rather than in some particular way that we have chosen for ourselves.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth – can therefore be expressed as:

Blessed are those who have the right mental attitude – an attitude of open-mindedness, faith in God, and a willingness to let God’s Will prevail– for they shall have power over all areas of their lives.


One Client’s Experience: My Seven Day Retreat

“Fasting with no water?” That was my first thought when Preston told me about his seven day spiritual retreat.

I had known Preston for about one year and I had spent enough time with him to deeply respect his spiritual gifts and his personal commitment to spiritual growth. I was therefore immediately intrigued when he mentioned that he facilitated seven day retreats that allowed participants to go inward and create a stronger connection to the Divine. When he mentioned that the retreat required one to fast, I was not initially concerned. I had done 3-day and 7-day liquid cleanses before, so I felt confident that I could physically and psychologically handle a fast. However, when he mentioned that in this retreat, one needs to fast from food and water, I was momentarily thrown off.

Preston smiled at my shocked look and patiently explained that during the seven day retreat, we were to fast from all food and water from midnight to 9pm everyday. At 9pm, we would break the fast with water and then we would be free to eat as much fruit, vegetables and rice we wanted. Prayers would start again at midnight, so we would need to finish eating and drinking by 11:30pm in order to clean up and be prepared for the midnight session.

I signed up for the retreat, but the prospect of no water during the day and most of the night continued to bother me. Is that safe, I wondered? Won’t I be horribly thirsty? How could I possible squeeze in enough water between 9pm and 11:30pm to assuage my thirst for the next 21 hours? I gradually began to realize that my incessant focus on the fasting was really a cover-up for deeper fears of what might be uncovered during such an intensive retreat. What would I discover about myself? What might I be challenged to change about myself? What if I had a spiritual experience that I couldn’t handle? These thoughts continued to bounce around in my head as the day of the retreat approached.

One week before the retreat, I sat down to meditate and received a vision from the Divine Mother. She offered me a silver cup with golden liquid in it. I drank from the cup and she then told me that I should drink from this cup during the retreat whenever I was thirsty. I immediately felt a strong inner sense of peace. I realized intuitively that this “water” was not just to relieve my physical thirst, but was to relieve my emotional anxiety and fears as well. I felt an amazing sense of comfort knowing that this loving presence was going to be with me during my seven days.

Once the retreat started, I quickly discovered that the most difficult part was not the fasting, but the lack of sleep! We prayed and worshiped every three hours around the clock, which meant we were never sleeping for more than 1 ½ to 2 hours at a time. To top it off, we were often energized and on-fire after our prayers, making it impossible to sleep at all!

My turning point happened on the third day. It was sometime around our midnight prayer. The combination of lack of sleep and complete isolation from worldly distractions, such as TV, the internet, food and work, stripped away the masks and crutches I used to keep certain fears and insecurities from bubbling up. Without those distractions, they came rising up and burst forth in tears and sobbing. I was both taken aback and deeply ashamed. I tried to reign the tears in, but I couldn’t. After the midnight prayer, I lay in my bed and continued to cry. I began to pray in earnest asking the Divine Mother for help. Around 4am, I felt her presence descend on me and I finally began to relax. I could feel healing energy being poured into my body until my legs and arms were tingling all over. I didn’t sleep at all that night, but I felt fully alive and alert when we gathered for our 6am prayer.

After that emotional release, I was able to be present during the retreat in a way I wasn’t able to before. I began to look forward to each prayer time. While I occasionally felt a physical tiredness, it would soon vanish with a drink from the silver cup or from the next prayer session. My head cleared and it became effortless to focus my thoughts on God. For the first time, I began to understand what the saints and masters meant when they said we were to pray incessantly. At the end of the seven day retreat, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment and well-being.

Some people experience powerful visions or hear messages during the retreat that cause them to change the direction of their lives. Others walk away with a sense of inner peace. Still others walk away with the sudden clarity of what needs to change in their lives and the courage to make that change. For me, the retreat gave me a sense of spiritual empowerment. I had more self-confidence and a sense of aliveness. The retreat also gave me a greater appreciation for the path walked by spiritual aspirants throughout time and history. It has also inspired me to do other fasts and spiritual rituals, and it taught me that I can train my mind to be focused on God at all times. It was an incredible seven days that I can honestly say changed my life.

— A Retreat Participant

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