THE BEATITUDES [MATTHEW 5:1-12]
JESUS gave us the Beatitudes as prescriptions for happiness. Together they form a character sketch of the Christian life – the life that leads to happiness because it is founded on Christ. We misunderstand the Beatitudes if we take them as a set of requirements. Jesus didn’t say, “You must be poor, you must be meek.” He said, “You will be happy if you become poor, happy if you become meek.”
Every one of the Beatitudes describes a different aspect of the life of God. It is God who grieves at sin, God who longs for justice, God who brings peace. As such, they are invitations to share in God’s life. If they were demands, they would only bring discouragement. How could we ever measure up? But as invitations they are a source of hope, because Jesus wants us to share in his happiness, contentedness, and blessedness. His primary desire is that we become heirs with Him of the life of God.
The Beatitudes speak of an inheritance we receive as we are united with Jesus. As we spend time with Him in prayer, He gives us a greater desire for Him. This desire for Jesus then makes each of us more willing to live a life that mirrors the Beatitudes. We begin a cycle of growth, in which revelation of Jesus leads to growth in Christ-likeness, which in turn opens us to deeper revelation. It all begins when we seek the face of Christ in prayer and at Mass. When we find Him, we get a taste of His life, and that taste is sweet to our hearts, so we press on for more. We become willing to endure sorrow, to give up false riches, to show mercy, because we are convinced that nothing surpasses Jesus’ life within us.
Let us now make a decision to seek the face of Jesus. Let us spend time with Him in prayer. Perhaps we can set aside a day to make a personal retreat and be with Him. Let Jesus teach us more about Himself. Let Him give us more of the blessed life that comes from seeing Him more clearly in our hearts. The inheritance is ours. Let us receive it.
Jakarta, 9 June 2014
A Christian Pilgrim