Blessed Are You
Mother Teresa once said, “The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for, is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” This poverty was also felt in the time of Jesus by those who believed that they were not loved by their own people as well as by God. And so, Jesus knowing full well that they were equally loved by God, proclaimed these blessings and beatitudes on the mountain to those who, like us feel so conflicted about themselves.
When we realize we are poor in spirit, when we sorrow over sin, when we are humble and honest about ourselves, when we hunger for holiness, when we show mercy, when we are motivated by the Gospel, when we are peacemakers and when we absorb hurt and insult and not just pass it on, at these moments the Lord Jesus promises us the graces and peace of the kingdom of God. Jesus brings out the total and complete reversal of conventional standards and values of the world and of God’s values. For example: The world says, “Happy are you who put your trust in money and you will be happy and enjoy your life. But Jesus says, “happy are you who put your trust in God and you are great in the sight of God.” Again, the world says, “happy are you who are hard and ruthless and people will be afraid of you and you can achieve whatever you want.” But Jesus says, “Happy are you who are gentle and kind and who refuse to get ahead by trampling others.” The world says again, “happy are you who hunger for power, status and fame for you will be seen as great in the sight of others.” But Jesus says, “happy are you who have good standards and values, you will be happy in your life.” The world says, “Happy are those whose main concern is to have a clean skin and who keep up to date with the latest style in clothes.” But Jesus says, “Happy are you whose main concern is to have a clean heart. If the heart is clean then all that flows from it will be like water flowing from the unpolluted spring.” The world says, “Happy are you troublemakers, for people will fear you and you will think you are great. But Jesus says, “happy are you peacemaker and who welcome the stranger and who work for a just society, you will be the true children of God.” Again, the world says, happy are you who don’t hesitate to lie, steal and cheat and manage to get away with everything.’ But Jesus says, “happy are you who stand for what is right and just and you will gain honour on earth and glory in heaven.”
Let us remember that beatitudes are not just about the rich or the poor, happy or sad, hungry or satisfied, they point beyond earthly status and toward our status before God. Jesus was very careful to note that whatever we are experiencing, if it is because of our faith and love of the Lord then we are blessed.
Today, the rich, the famous and the most powerful are often referred to as the “Blessed” ones and this implies that the rest of us are not blessed. But with the beatitudes we are reminded that anything against God’s commands is never a blessing. Riches, fame, and power are only a blessing if they were attained in faithfulness to God. Therefore, relationship with God and not our worldly status, determines our blessedness.
The most fruitful path to this beatitude occurs in the search and embrace of our vocation. A vocation to the consecrated life or priesthood will provide many opportunities to learn the path of beatitude in a supportive environment where there is much structure to support the practice of Spirituality and to observe closely the transformation that happens when we live from the centre of the beatitudes: the unconditional love of God. Religious and priests then can become experts in helping others learn this mysterious and rewarding path.
We could add another beatitude – blessed are those who are open to the prompting of the Spirit to give their lives away in loving, fully committed service of their brothers and sisters as priests, vowed religious, married couples or consecrated lay persons – they will find fulfillment and joy in responding to the call of God.
By Susai Jesu, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Team