In this article we continue reflecting on some beautiful aspects of the Beatitudes:
The Beatitudes are an invitation to a life that no human being could have ever initiated
As such, they are a gift freely offered by God. It becomes real in the life of a person only when it is received with an open heart and is lived with the passion of Christian love. And since the Word that God utters is one with Him, as we receive the Beatitudes we receive God Himself and as we receive God we radiate the true joy and the clear light coming from Him.
The Beatitudes are a proclamation within the context of the “martyrdom of the heart”
When a person accepts them, the person puts his/her life at stake, like Mary who simply put her own life at the service of God and of the kingdom. God in return, on each one of her ‘dyings,’sheds His light and His love, continuously calling to her until the day came when, with all the saints, she started praising God forever in heaven. When we ourselves accept the Beatitudes, we die to the world of the flesh wounded by sin with our own privacy, our own power, our own plans, our own interests, our own ideas, and also with our little consideration for God and for others. We also move towards the world of the Spirit in which the domain belongs to God, to His Word, to service, to mission, and to authentic living with all that it entails.
The Beatitudes constitute a unique revolutionary statement
The history of humankind has seen many revolutions. Many took place to change structures and systems and caused bloodshed with mixed results: success or failures. Other revolutions aimed at changing hearts and making life richer, more dignified, more real. They left a positive mark in history. The revolution brought about by Jesus belongs to this second group in the most eminent and creative way; in fact it has given human life a flavor that is divine and asks from us renunciations and generosity. Pope Francis has written: “Although Jesus’ words may strike us as poetic, they clearly run counter to the way things are usually done in our world. Even if we find Jesus’ message attractive, the world pushes us towards another way of living. The Beatitudes are in no way trite or undemanding, quite the opposite. We can only practice them if the Holy Spirit fills us with his power and free us from our weakness, our selfishness, our complacency and our pride.” (Gaudete et Exultate, 65) This wholly new outlook which Jesus introduces can be fully grasped only to the degree that we embrace the Beatitudes as a way of life. There is no other way.
The Beatitudes are a great proclamation of encouragement through the promotion of hope
In this way they are a splendid antidote against despondency. It seems to me that there is a great deal of dejection in all states of life, the effects of which can be serious. There are people who have become sour, embittered, filled with grudges and resentment. Other people have fallen into a kind of spiritual sloth with a life of mediocrity which makes them disappointed, lacking fulfillment and feeling useless. The Beatitudes give these people hope which is beyond all human expectations and evaluations.
The Beatitudes are the most positive outlook on life
In fact they do not tear down, but rather build up. They do not proclaim heavy laws as they are Gospel, Good News. They generate in the disciples creative convictions: we are loved by God; our sins have been forgiven; the gifts of God surround us at all sides; we are children of God as He is our Father.
As I conclude this article, I quote Pope Francis: “Let us listen once more to Jesus, with all the love and respect that the Master deserves. Let us allow His words to unsettle us, to challenge us and to demand a real change in the way we live.” In this way we will put on Christ Jesus and we will reflect Him in our lives.