June 16, 2010

The Third Beatitude: Blessed are the Meek

By Sean McPherson *
I would be remiss to talk about the topic of sainthood without recalling a conversation I recently had with one of my best friends, Brianna. She is actually Sister Brianna now, as she is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia stationed in Nashville. She recently came home to visit for the first time since August, and it was also the first time that we - her high school friends and I - experienced how truly happy she is being a sister.
As she told us all about the daily life of Dominican Sisterhood, the part of her description that caught my attention most was how she devoted every part of the day to God. Whether it was remaining in silence, cleaning the chapel or attending choir practice, everything she told us about was related back to God and helping her grow. She did not have funny stories about parties, and she did not go on a lot of crazy adventures - she simply loved God in the repetition of daily life.

As I reflected upon our gathering, I realized precisely what Sister Brianna portrayed - that the memories and events that make me happiest are the ones that are simple. Thinking about years past, I can vividly remember playing basketball with friends outside at midnight and then staying up really late and simply hanging out. I can hardly forget the stupid YouTube video which we watched almost every day that always made us laugh hysterically. There are numerous memories like this for me. No great experience was needed to create a joyful and lasting memory.

In my spiritual life too, it is the little, repetitive things that raise my spirit to Christ the most. A short daily prayer to my favorite saint or a short visit to the Marian Grotto are what sustain me when things get tough. These prayers work best when they are not constrained just to the chapel, but echo in my thoughts at each moment of the day. I think this is what Sister Brianna does, and I see it at work in my own life. When I fail to do it, I am not nearly as happy, but when I do, it seems that everything tends to work itself out.

The idea of simplicity and repetition are incredibly countercultural and difficult to uphold as the most important part of the day, especially in the midst of constant media. However, since they create a rhythm to life, they are an effective means of writing a glorious song to God. It is through this ‘Holy Monotony’ that Sister Brianna is so happy, and through it we can find meaning in Christ’s words that the ‘meek will inherit the Earth.’ Those who live a simple, holy life will find happiness, while those who just pursue the world and all of its excitement will be left only wanting more.
Sean McPherson is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, where he is studying chemical engineering and theology.

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


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