Do Good. Be Happy.

At our Bible study last week, we discussed today’s readings in pretty good detail. We went through almost all of the Beatitudes, and examined what each one really meant. I thought that would be good to do here.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This is from St. Matthew’s Gospel. In St. Luke’s Gospel, the beatitude is “blessed are the poor” which carries more of a financial or physical poor meaning only. But, poor in spirit is more of an internal reality. It is literally a spiritual thing. It is a spiritual attitude that is based in humility. Basically, it’s the attitude that everything we have that is good is from God. “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord”. One commentary (Navarre Bible) describes the beatitude this way: “A Christian sees himself as a little child in the presence of God, a child who owns nothing; everything he has comes from God and belongs to God”.

“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”. The late Mother Angelica once said on EWTN, “this beatitude has nothing to do with funerals!” She was exaggerating to make the point that true Christian mourning is for all of the effects of sin, of which death is one. Remember the scene when Jesus weeps at the death of his friend Lazarus. He is weeping not for Lazarus, but for the crowds. He believes at that moment – and is saying to the crowds – that Lazarus will rise, but they don’t believe Him. He is mourning the lack of faith in the crowd. Today, we mourn in the same lack of faith and virtue among people today in the world, in the church, and in our families.

“Blessed are the meek.” “(T)hose who patiently suffer unjust persecution; those who remain serene, humble, and steadfast in adversity, and do not give way to resentment or discouragement. The virtue of meekness is very necessary in the Christian life. Usually, irritableness, which is very common, stems from a lack of humility and interior peace” (Navarre).

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for what is right!

“Blessed are the clean of heart.” If we are pure in our intentions, then we are clean of heart. It means that we don’t have an ulterior motive or agenda, and so are not being selfish or self-centered. If we are doing things regularly for the sake of God or for the sake of goodness, then we are clean of heart!

The Beatitudes fulfill the Ten Commandments. They are ways of life and are positive. The commandments are specific to particular acts, and are mostly negative. In the Beatitudes, the Lord taps into our desire – mainly to be happy! He teaches us how to be happy in this life, and also how to win the reward of eternal life.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr