Thursday, November 1, 2018

“A fish will never be freer and happier than when it swims in the ocean, because that’s what it was made for. You will never be freer and happier than when you live like a saint, because that is what you were made for.”

Where most men work for degrees after their names, we work for one before our names: Saint. - Mother Angelica: ((born Rita Antoinette Rizzo 1923 – 2016) also known as Mother Angelica, was a Catholic American Poor Clare nun best known for her television personality)

Gospel Text: (MT 5:1-12A)
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."

What is striking about the Beatitudes is that the statements are made, and are addressed to each one of us, in the context of this existing world we live in, a world that remains afflicted by evil. It is a net filled with “good fish and bad.”

But, how do I, as one individual, who can do only what I can do in my limited time and place, have any meaningful impact in this trans-historical process of restoring all things in Christ?

First of all, it is neither I nor you nor any human being or institution who will accomplish the work of establishing God's kingdom. It is God himself, or more precisely, it is the Father through his Son, now the head of his Body, the Church, infused by the Holy Spirit, against whom the gates of hell will not prevail.

Secondly, the transformation of this world is accomplished through the conversion of the human heart from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. And if the transformation of the world is through the conversion of the human heart, then it is clear that the Beatitudes speak precisely of what that converted human heart is to become: To be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be gentle, and so on, and to be totally submissive, not to the evil of the world, but to the will of God, just as Jesus allowed himself to be led to the cross in submission to his Father's will.

The Beatitudes then are primarily directed to the conversion of the human heart of the hearer, you and me. But our following of the direction of the Beatitudes in this life has much more impact than just my or your conversion. Being poor in spirit or meek, etc, conveys the meaning of a continuing attitude of the human heart that goes beyond these acts of virtue. To sustain this attitude of submission, in the midst of the continuing presence and experience of evil in the world, is to be continuously united to the sufferings of Christ. And it is that fidelity to love of God in the face of evil that, in the Father's disposition of the work of the Spirit, transforms, the world, imperceptibly but surely - like salt or yeast or the mustard tree from the tiny mustard seed.

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