Beatitudes Part 3

YOM_blogSixth Beatitude – “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” (Mt. 5:8)   All our spiritual and physical evils and consequent sufferings are due to divided and impure hearts, the result of the original sin.   Many of us live compromised lives, our heart living in the here and now world with God coming in a far second-fiddle in our priorities.   Being pure of heart means having an unselfish, whole-hearted love of God and letting God possess our heart with His all-consuming love.    The love in our heart then overflows unselfishly on those around us.   Purity of heart is a divine attribute and can be attained only by divine power, divine grace.     We attain purity of heart not by the imitation of Christ but by incorporation into Jesus Christ.   When we live in Jesus, he gives us purity of heart because it cannot be attained by fallen human nature.   That means that Jesus is our purity of heart.     Jesus tells us, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.”   (Jn. 14:6)       To have purity of heart, we must get our heart in line with God’s heart.   Then our mind will line up with God’s mind, and we will receive the gift of understanding the teaching of the Son.   To the men going to Emmaus, Jesus said, “Oh, how foolish you are!   How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!”   (Lk. 24:25)   Once Jesus revealed himself to them and vanished, they exclaimed, “Were not our hearts burning inside us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”   (Lk. 24:32)   Jesus purified their hearts and they saw God.  Jesus warns us, “Remember, where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”   (Mt. 6:21)

Seventh Beatitude – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Mt. 5:9)   God is the sole author of peace.   Jesus tells us, “`Peace’ is my farewell to you, my peace is my gift to you; I do not give it to you as the world gives peace.”   (Jn. 14:27)   The cause of unrest in our hearts, in our families, and in the world is sin.   First we must be at peace with God.   Once at peace with God, we will be at peace with ourselves.   Then we can be at peace with others.   St. Augustine (354-430 AD) said that “Peace is the tranquility of order.”   The tranquility of order is the subordination of all things to the sovereign good which is God.   Jesus offers us a peace that comes from the right ordering of conscience, from justice, mercy, love of God and love of neighbor.   True peace begins when, with contrite hearts, we seek to restore our relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.   When we make peace with God we become peacemakers in the pattern of the Prince of Peace.   When we are baptized into the family of God the Father, we are meant to be peacemakers.   Peace begins with us.

Eighth Beatitude – “Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:10)   This beatitude seems to be a paradox.   How can it be blessed to suffer persecution?   Persecution is blessed not because it is persecution but because it is Christ’s persecution.   The mystical body (the Church) shares in the sufferings of its Head (Jesus) because the Head shares in the sufferings of his body.   Those who suffer persecution, suffer for Christ’s sake.   It is blessed because it unites us with Jesus and His holiness.   Jesus informs us, “Because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.   Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’   If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”   (Jn. 15:19-20)   To stand fast under persecution is a strength of self-sacrifice for Christ.   In many parts of the world, persecution is overt, violent, and painful.   In our comfortable and complex society, persecution is more subtle and insidious.   The persecutors seek to mask persecution in the claims of popular societal values, the rights of the individual, tolerance and political correctness.   It is an attack on the mind, not the body.   The mass media spreads anti-Christian bigotry.   Government  institutions use coercive means to force Jesus’ followers to conform to popular demands.   Schools indoctrinate students to believe God should not have a public role in society.   Because many Catholics are lukewarm in their faith, they feel safe in this environment.     Those who truly practice the beatitudes, live their faith and reveal Jesus to the world are increasingly at risk in being persecuted in our country.