The Basics – The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This beatitude promises a present blessing, while others offer future blessings. Note the difference as you read. Others have a “will be” future tense consolation. Here, we must recognize our spiritual poverty and our need for God’s grace. We cannot rely on our own strength or abilities to achieve salvation, but instead humble ourselves before God. This is a necessary step in our journey towards holiness.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Here we learn that we must grieve for our sins and the sins of the world. If we can recognize evil, we can be compassionate and empathetic towards others, especially those who are suffering. We can thereby bring comfort now, to those who are hurting and help them to heal.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Let us be humble and gentle with others. Not be arrogant or prideful, but instead seek to serve and put other’s needs before our own. By doing so, we can create a more peaceful and just society.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

We must be willing to stand up for what is right, even if it is difficult or unpopular. This can be difficult, since we can be persecuted for calling out injustice, but by doing so, we can become righteous.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Forgive others. Do not hold grudges or seek revenge, but instead show mercy and kindness. By doing so, we can expect that God will be merciful to us as well.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Also, Heb 12:14, “Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which, no one will see the Lord.” These provide the basis for beholding the Beatific Vision. The next beatitude follows accordingly.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

Work to create peace and harmony where you are present. Divisive and argumentative attitudes do not reconcile differences or build bridges. A blessed child should seek peace with siblings.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

None of us desire persecution for our beliefs, yet we must be willing to stand up for what is right. How easy it is to say, for I personally struggle with this beatitude.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Rejoice! We must be willing to endure hardship and persecution and even martyrdom for the sake of the Gospel. When called to do so, the grace needed to face evil will be there.

So, we must recognize our spiritual poverty, grieve for our sins, be humble and gentle, hunger for righteousness, show mercy and kindness, have a pure and sincere heart, work for peace, be willing to face persecution, and rejoice in our suffering. By doing so, we can become true disciples of Christ and yearn to hear from His lips: “Well done, good and faithful servant …” Mt 25:21.

[Readings: 2 Cor 1:1-7; Mt 5:1-12]

Jerry DeMelo Jr.

Mr Jerry DeMelo, Jr OP is a life-long Catholic and life professed Lay Dominican. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he served in the US Submarine Service. He is presently a Judicial Officer in California. Jerry enjoys Catholic Pilgrimages, teaches a weekly Bible study as well as the Diaconate formation program for the Diocese of Fresno. Mr DeMelo is on the Board of Directors of Gratia Vobis Ministries.

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