Monday, June 10, 2013

Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy.

When was the last time you laughed for the sheer joy of your salvation? People are not attracted to somber doctrines. There is no persuasive power in a gloomy and morbid religion. Let the world see your joy and you won't be able to keep them away. To be filled with God is to be filled with joy. - Anonymous

Gospel Text: (MT 5:1-12)
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

To follow Jesus is to become a person of the beatitudes.

The Lord teaches his disciples that to live a life in union with him they must not only avoid sin - this is already fully articulated in the Ten Commandments, which remain perennially valid - but must lead a new kind of life: One that is firmly rooted in the Kingdom of God.

The Beatitudes teach us how to follow Christ in living as members of his eternal Kingdom.

Poverty of spirit leads one to recognize that the greatest good available to mankind is to lead a life rooted in God. This is the virtue that orients our desires to eternal life.

A spirit of mourning helps to reorder one's life according to what is most essential and lasting. It opens a person to the discovery of how God accompanies us in all the circumstances of life.

To thirst for righteousness orients Jesus' disciples to a love of authentic justice, the first principle of which is to give to God the love and honor due to him. This beatitude expands one's interior vision, it having been made sensitive to the victory that Christ has already won, and which is even now being applied, soul-by-soul.

To be merciful is to live with a forgiving heart, even when one has been deeply wounded by another. It is the foundation of one's hope to find pardon from God, which is given so freely and richly.

Having a clean heart simplifies and un-complicates one's life. By removing the stains of impurity through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it becomes possible to grasp that interior freedom which leads to a joyful embrace of God's will.

The blessing of peace orders one's life according to the sacrifice of the Cross - the source of true peace. Allowing the peace of Christ to reign in one's heart is a condition of living as a child of God.

Even persecution for the sake of Christ is presented as a blessing. So many people reviled the Lord, especially as he hung upon the Cross. When we share in this condition, we are especially united with the saving grace that flows from it.

It isn’t easy to follow Jesus, to live a life as a peacemaker, to live as someone who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Life is hard, but we have to remember God’s encouragement when we are afflicted. And we have to remember to pass on that encouragement to others when they are afflicted.

The Beatitudes are stepping-stones on the way to the Kingdom of God. We cannot live them fully without the grace of the Holy Spirit, which comes to us through the frequent reception of the Sacraments’ and a committed prayer life. St. Matthew's text is emphatic: so «Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God» (Mt 5,12).

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