Commonplace Book #149

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” This community of strangers possesses no inherent right of its own to protect its members in the world, nor do they claim such rights, for they are meek, they renounce every right of their own and live for the sake of Jesus Christ. When reproached, they hold their peace; when treated with violence they endure it patiently; when men drive them from their presence, they yield their ground. They will not go to law to defend their rights, or make a scene when they suffer injustice, nor do they insist on their legal rights. They are determined to leave their rights to God alone–non cupidi vindctae, as the ancient Church paraphrased it. Their right is in the will of their Lord –and that no more. They show by every word and gesture that they do not belong to this earth. Leave heaven to them, says the world in its pity, that is where they belong. (The Emperor Julian wrote mockingly in a letter [No.43] that he only confiscated the property of Christians so as to make them poor enough to enter the kingdom of heaven.) But Jesus says: “They shall inherit the earth.” To these, the powerless and the disenfranchised, the very earth belongs.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, 109-110.