“HE BEGAN TO TEACH THEM.” MT 5:1-12
Humbly submit your will to God, consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Mt 5:1-12
Jesus teaches us the perfect (holy) Christian life in the Gospel of Matthew Chapters 5,6, and 7 beginning with the Beatitudes on the Sermon on the Mount and ending with “so be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
If you truly desire to become a saint, this is your handbook that must be read often! Be ready to battle, because to truly love brings on major temptations and a daily battle with the enemy. As humans we are weak, but “with God anything is possible.”
In 393, Saint Augustine wrote his Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. In this edifying treatise, he begins with the weighty proclamation that “anyone who piously and earnestly ponders the Sermon on the Mount — as we read in the Gospel according to Mathew — I believe he will find therein… the perfect standard of the Christian Life.” And indeed, prayerful contemplation on Christ’s Sermon will reveal that it possesses the divine principles of justice leading to a deep understanding of the way in which we ought to live in order to answer Christ’s call to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit is not to be materially impoverished, but to be humble. St. Augustine explains that “whoever is puffed up is not poor in spirit.” The poor in spirit are not weak; they are strong enough to be detached from the material riches of this world. The kingdom of heaven is on high but as is said in Mathew 23:12, “he that humbles himself shall be exalted.”
“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. The Greek word for meek has a twofold meaning at once as strong as iron, yet as gentle as a feather. Jesus describes meekness as being “wise as serpents and gentle as doves.” St. Francis de Sales further elucidates meekness when he says “there is nothing as strong as true meekness, there is nothing as gentle as true strength.” One who is truly meek will possess the earth, “if you are not meek, it will possess you.” St. Augustine notes that the earth refers to the heavenly kingdom and in another sense, self-possession ordered to Christ that unifies and integrates a community of souls.
“Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted.” St. Augustine cautions us against an improper understanding of mourning. Jesus does not bless every form of sorrow. Despair is sorrow without hope. Self-pity is a most dangerous form of mourning. Mourning is the expression of inner discontent, of the gap between desire and satisfaction, in other words for suffering. We are to mourn for our sins and the sins of others.
“Blessed are those who thirst and hunger for justice, for they shall be satisfied.” If we hunger for the things of this world we will end in starvation. Christ being the all-encompassing truth and justice is our food and drink, we ought to hunger and thirst for Him.
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” St. Augustine reminds us here of the truth that we are beggars at Gods door and someone is begging from us. He entreats us to remember that “as you treat your beggar, so will God treat his.” He exhorts: “Out of your own fullness fill an empty man, so that your own emptiness may be filled from the fullness of God.” To him that shows mercy, mercy will be shown. The holy appeal to show mercy is well illustrated by the parable of the Good Samaritan.
“Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.” St. Augustine explains that “the eyes by which God is seen are within the heart.” As if he is speaking to our age he admonishes, “how foolish then are those who try to find God through the use of their bodily eyes!” We must walk by faith not by sight. The purification of our hearts is the true end of our love which will allow us to see God clearly. St. Augustine explains, “A simple heart is a heart that is pure; and, just as the light which surrounds us cannot be seen except through eyes that are clear, so neither is God seen unless that through which He can be seen is pure.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they are the children of God.” St. Augustine clarifies that “where there is no contention, there is perfect peace. And because nothing can contend against God, the children of God are peacemakers.” St. Augustine explains that “man is unable to rule over the lower things unless he in turn submits to the rule of a higher being. And this is the peace promised on earth to men of good will.” God’s peace is only possible when everything is in its proper order and oriented to Him.
Finally, “Blessed are YOU when men 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 so men persecuted the Prophets before YOU.” The first seven Beatitudes are free will choices on our part; the eighth Beatitude is done to us in consequence of these choices. We are to suffer the eighth Beatitude as we perfect the practice of the first seven. The Church will be persecuted until Jesus returns!
After Jesus proclaims the Beatitudes, the rest of the Sermon on the Mount illustrates the effects manifested by the precepts of the perfect moral law. The Beatitudes are the heavenly norms for which we must strive to conform ourselves by cooperating with the graces gifted by the Holy Spirit. Christ presents the Beatitudes to us in their proper order from the lowest to the highest. The first step of the climb on this stairway to heaven is humility leading upwards through the rest of the Beatitudes towards the final end of wisdom. The Beatitudes embody the properly ordered mystical hierarchy of the rise to sanctity.
Found at: http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2014/03/rummelsburg-st-augustine-on-the-beatitudes/
Today’s challenge: Be open to God’s grace and enjoy the adventure! Desire a perfect Christian life! God’s grace with your cooperation and effort equal sanctity/holiness/heaven! Desire an authentic relationship with Christ and others.
Book Recommendation: The Pursuit of Happiness: God’s Way by Servais Pinckaers, OP
Be a servant, become a saint!