Reflections on the Eight Beatitudes

On the eight Sundays of Easter time, from Easter Sunday through Palm Sunday, let us reflect on the Eight Beatitudes. These reflections are based in part on a book called the “Be Happy Attitudes” by Robert Schuller. Although these homily notes are incomplete, here they are anyway. Otherwise, you may want to get a copy of Robert Schuller’s wonderful book. Whatever the case Happy (Ongoing) Easter to you throughout these fifty days of Easter Time! 

Reflections on the Eight Be-Happy-Attitudes 

1:   Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   Mind/Attitude

  • Not “spiritually impoverished,” but detached from worldliness. A picture of Christian life at its best!
  • Blessed are those who know their need of God. I need help – I cannot do it alone.  God helps me!
  • We have a God-sized hole in our lives that only God can fill. Are you “full”filled?  Let God fill you full!
  • Tom Peterson (Catholics Come Home): Downsize and simplify because we are only here a short while.

2:   Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.  Will/Constraint

  • “Second place” is “first loser”? Cut-throat competition to be on top at all costs?  Is it really worth it?
  • We may win things, but at the cost of losing our personal integrity. We all end up losers in the end.
  • Does this relegate us to trickle-down benefits of used leftovers? Cherish whatever you do have!
  • To which “land” does this beatitude refer? The kingdom of heaven.  Be patient and it will come.

3:   Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.  Heart/Feeling

  • Heartfelt sorrow for past mistakes that cannot be corrected, hurts that have not healed – “Dominus Flevit”
  • Heartfelt sorrow for present enigmas: where we do not know where or who to turn to – Simon of Cyrene
  • Heartfelt sorrow for an uncertain future: doubts, fears, anxieties: God always comes through somehow!

4:   Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.  Visceral/Core

  • Not just mourning for our sins, but hungering and thirsting for holiness of life, and doing it on God’s terms.
  • Religion is not meant to be a hobby, but a lifestyle, in which we seek to be the best version of ourselves.
  • Vincent DePaul Society: partnership to promote a parish that really cares for the people of our community.
  • Registered, Mass attenders, supporters, PGC compliant, engaged parishioners – are invited to join!

5:   Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.  Broken Hearts opened to show “Mercy”!

  • Cumulative trajectory of the Beatitudes for a fully Christian life in the midst of our everyday lives.
  • Motherhood and mercy: WTYFGH. “Wait ‘til your father gets home!”  BVM = Mother of Mercy.
  • “Miseri-cordia” – our heart is touched by the pain of others, for which we have genuine “sym”-pathy.”
  • Having found healing for our hearts (Beatitude III), we can understand and help bring healing to others.

6:   Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.  Purity of Heart and Singleness of Intention

  • The highest motivation for living the Christian life is actually doing it just because you “feel like” doing it!
  • Overcoming “hardness of heart” allows us to be open-minded to see and understand God’s plan for our lives.
  • Ezekiel: transform our hearts of stone into natural hearts – Paul: flesh vs. the spirit / soul and body together.
  • Unity of Life: what we think, what we feel, and what we do, gives us spiritual insight into “beatitude” itself.

7:   Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.  Interior/Exterior Peace

  • There can only be peace in this world when there are enough people who are peace with God and themselves.
  • The word “peace” occurs a full seven times between the Lord’s Prayer and the reception of Holy Communion!
  • Seven: days a week, sacraments, and virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, love.
  • When we cherish the fact that we are sons and daughters of God, we will be at peace with ourselves and God.

8:   Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Fortitude.

  • Resistance is not futile: you can choose not to be assimilated into the decline of our contemporary culture.
  • The inner peace developed through all the previous Beatitudes prepares us for the “blessing” of this final one!
  • 1) You know who you are: a son/daughter of God who has made an adult commitment of your life to Christ!
  • 2) what you stand for: Christ’s teachings help us live in this passing world with our hearts set on the next world.
  • 3) and who has your back: God will see you through every difficulty if you trust him to do what he has promised.
  • No great thing is ever accomplished without personal sacrifice and courageous commitment against all odds.

Consider the Beatitudes of St. Luke – four “blessings” and four “woes” – that put these teachings into perspective: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven, for that is how their ancestors treated the [true] prophets [in the Old Testament]. But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.  –  Counter-intuitive, to say the least! Remember that the eight beatitudes do not like our lives “easy.” They do, however, make us “wiser” and “stronger!”

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