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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Beatitudes

Happy All Saints Day. From today's gospel reading Mt 5:1-12 (via my 1962 missal)
... Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart; for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake: be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.

You can't read the beatitudes too much. I focus in on something different each time. Some thoughts from Pope Benedict's All Saints Homily via AsiaNews:(H/T Open Book)
The Gospel of the Beatitudes is often used by some theologians to present a Christianity “of values” (poverty, hunger, justice, peace workers and so on), detached from the person of Jesus. The pope was clear: “In reality, the Blessed one par excellence is only Him, Jesus. It is He, in fact, who is truly poor in spirit, afflicted, meek, the one who hungers and thirsts for justice, merciful, pure in heart, and a peace worker. It is He who is persecuted in the cause of right”. And spontaneously he added: “The Beatitudes show us the mystery of death and resurrection, which is the mystery of Jesus.” He continued: “With the Beatitudes, Jesus points out to us how to follow him and to imitate him. In the measure that we welcome his invitation and seek to follow it, we too can participate in his Beatitudes.”
Dorothy Day tried to make the beatitudes her guiding principles and I believe she succeeded.
"What are we trying to do? We are trying to get to heaven, all of us. We are trying to lead a good life. We are trying to talk about and write about the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the social principles of the Church and it is most astounding, the things that happen when you start trying to live this way. To perform the works of mercy becomes a dangerous practice. Our Baltimore House was closed as a public nuisance because we took in Negroes as well as whites. The boys were arrested and thrown in jail over night and accused of running a disorderly house. The opposition to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked is unceasing. There is much talk of the worthy and the unworthy poor, the futility of such panaceas. And yet our Lord himself gave us these jobs to do in his picture of the last Judgment, and as Fr. Furfey said once, we are not excused for ignorance. It is a good thing to live from day to day and from hour to hour."
"Letter On Hospices"
By Dorothy Day
The Catholic Worker, Jan 1948,