***We now have Adult Catechesis sessions on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month. These sessions begin right before mass at 9:15 in the main church. All are welcome!
Adult Catechesis – The Beatitudes
Jesus issues the eight Beatitudes as the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. Scripture records the Beatitudes in two versions, differing slightly, in Matt. 5:1-12 and in Luke 6:20-26. We will follow here the version in Matthew. Commentary comes in part from Saint Augustine’s commentary on the Sermon on the Mount,” written in 393 a.d.
(As a personal note, I like to tie the Beatitudes to a powerful verse in Gal. 5:6, “What matters (most) is faith that works through love.” In other words, if we want our faith to be ALIVE, we must practice love—love of God and love of others. Learning to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes is one important way to love God and our fellow human beings and thus exemplify “faith that works through love.”)
St. Augustine (in his Sermon 53 on the Beatitudes) sees the Beatitudes as exemplifying the heavenly dispositions that lead to our becoming holy.
- “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” St. Augustine suggests that this Beatitude has to do with a person’s being humble, not “puffed up,” and detached from worldly possessions and status. In other words nothing we own, including a title or position, should be more important to us than our fidelity to God and God’s will.
- “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” True meekness, according to St. Augustine, involves “self possession ordered to Christ.” So a disciplined will that puts adherence to Christ as primary should be our goal.
- “Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.” God does not bless every form of mourning, especially not self pity or despair. Ideally we should mourn for our sins and the sins of others in the world and pray for the overcoming of sin and sinful habits.
- “Blessed are they who thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.” The Holy Spirit will show us what right thinking and right action are, if we ask in humility. Then we can champion the cause of those who may suffer from unjust treatment by others (abuse, discrimination, unfairness.)
- “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” St. Augustine reminds us that we are beggars at God’s door. If someone is begging mercy or pardon from us, Augustine entreats us that “as you treat your beggar, so will God treat (you).”
- “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” Cleansing sin and a disposition to sin from our hearts will purify us and gives us the spiritual eyes “to see God.” A Godly heart is fixed on God as the supreme good and rejects anything that opposes God’s directions.
- “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” God’s peace is complete only when a soul has everything in its proper order and oriented to God. Souls filled with God’s love are souls capable of promoting peace among their fellows.
- “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.” The first seven Beatitudes are free will choices on our part. The eighth Beatitude is what is done to us as a consequence of our practicing the first seven. Count it all a joy!
Faith Outreach Committee and Patrick Grace