Blog # 366 Blessed
The Beatitudes constitute a well known section of St. Matthew's presentation of the Sermon on the Mount. I remember on the occasion of a Sunday several years ago when we read that section as the Gospel passage for a Sunday Mass. In my comments on the Gospel in the church bulletin that day I included the word Blessed expressed in about twenty different languages. A reading of the words made different sounds but all of the sounds expressed the same reality, a universal desire of every human heart...happiness and peace. It is true of the old and the young, the sinner and the saint.
God. our Creator, designed it that way. Yet not all people are happy or at peace. I saw this illustrated in the road in front of our church. Literally anyone in all the world could walk down that road, Chinese Greeks Germans Italians old and young, But not all do. Some do not even know the road exists. Others may be looking for it and will find it some time in the future. If this were a parable I were writing, the road would be called love, and would lead to happiness and peace.
Jesus came to lead all people down such a road. He told us, and demonstrated in Himself, that when you find true happiness and peace it will be in love, and only be, in love. We were designed and made for this, everyone. There is no other universal plan than this that works.
All of the unrest, unhappiness and lack of peace, , violence, and crime throughout the world in our present moment of history is clear evidence of the fact so many people are not aware of or following the plan of our Creator to seek and experience happiness and peace in love. The command to love that God has given to all who come to Him is not to be seen as something that is sought in God's favor, but as evidence of the truth about us: happiness and peace are the fruits of love.
The Beatitudes give us a more precise focus of the content of the command we have received from God to love. A problem is we are so familiar with the words Jesus uses we tend to think we know what they mean, As a result there is danger we may not be feeling need of or be looking for development or enrichment of their meaning and value in our lives today and tomorrow. They tend to be the same as they were, and we tend not to grow in His wisdom and goodness within us.
So we ask the Lord questions in quiet prayer and listen for Him to tell us something new.
What do You mean Lord, by the word Blessed? What should it mean for us to be "poor in spirit"? "sorrowing"? "lowly"?," hungry and thirsty for holiness"?, "merciful"? "single-minded"? " "peacemakers"? What does it really mean. Lord, for us, right now?
We are already familiar with these words. What we should want to do is grow in our knowledge of their meaning and value, and how what they mean for us can give us power to grow in our love for God and one another. Our prayer is for us to know the truth, desire it, and put it into action. It is a prayer for an increase of faith hope and love, the same words we have known for a long time, but a new experience of them in each new prayer.