Grace: To grow in an intimate knowledge of the Lord, allowing the Beatitudes to be a way to love and to follow Christ.
Text: Mt. 5: 1-12
Reflection: We are all looking for the secret on how to “make it” in this world. We want lasting happiness and the feeling of accomplishment. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus begins with the Beatitudes, which provide a straightforward path on how to live a blessed and happy life.
If we have been freely given the secret to happiness, then why aren’t people ending their chase for fleeting passions to pursue what can only make them truly happy? Because being poor in spirit, mourning, pure of heart, etc. seem contradictory to being happy. The world tells us we need ambition and greed in order to be happy, not poverty of spirit. Reality TV shows dictate that we need constant drama to have a meaningful life, not peacemaking. The media explicitly expresses that we cannot live without sex, and purity of heart and intention is folly. Wall Street upholds that the hard-boiled are blessed, not the meek. Thus, the world sees no value in the Beatitudes.
However, Jesus is not speaking about immediate gratification but about lasting consolation. In a way, the Beatitudes are a repetition of the Call of the King meditation, since Jesus is calling us to patiently accept present hardships with Him in the hope that we will share in our Master’s glory. Each of the Beatitudes provides a path to grow not only in happiness but in holiness because we are imitating and following Christ our King in our daily life.
In the Beatitudes, the ones being exalted are the marginalized, the persecuted and the poor. Jesus reinforces the call to poverty, contempt and humility (as stated in the Two Standards meditation) so that we may better identify with Christ and live according to His standard. As indicated above, this is a sharp contrast to the message promulgated by the world. But only Jesus can promise us lasting joy, which is linked to His Kingdom. Jesus wants us all to share in His Kingdom and experience true happiness, but He does so by inviting us and not compelling us. Additionally, Jesus perfectly lived each and every one of the Beatitudes; hence Jesus not only tells us how we may share in His kingdom but He models it for us.
Imagine being present in the crowd as Jesus addresses you from the mount. As we experienced in the Call of the King and the Two Standards meditation, Jesus is the benevolent king who speaks to us with warmth and kindness as He invites us to know the Father and to live according to His Will. With the eyes of the Spirit, picture how Jesus appears to you and what the location looks like. Imagine the sound of Jesus’ voice as He speaks to you. Is there passion and excitement in His tone? Gentleness and ease? How do the people in the crowd appear to you as they hear Jesus’ words? How do you appear? Within each of the Beatitudes, what is Jesus specifically asking you to do to better imitate and follow Him? How are you reacting to Jesus’ sermon?
Spend a few moments in quiet, prayerful reflection with this scene, and if you feel moved, speak with Jesus or the Blessed Mother about what you had experienced.