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But this can only produce mourning and regret over our own sins and the sins of this world, for we have hurt the one who has been so good to us. One also mourns for the suffering of others. Gregory describes another reason to mourn: the more one ascends in meditation of Divine Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, and then realize the poverty of human nature, man can only be left in sorrow. When one contemplates that we were made in the image and likeness of God and lived in Paradise, the Garden of Eden, and compare that to our present state after the Fall, one can only mourn our present condition.


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But the sentence continues that they shall be comforted , by the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and hopefully one day in the Kingdom of Heaven. Pray for the fruit of the Holy Spirit Galatians - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Mourning in this context is called a blessing, because mourning our fallen nature creates in us a desire to improve ourselves and to do what is right!

Gregory of Nyssa saw the Beatitudes as arranged like so many steps, so as to facilitate the ascent from one to another.

Study the Meaning of 8 Blessings From the Sermon on the Mount

For example, a humble person comes to be meek, or becomes gentle and kind, and exhibits a docility of spirit, even in the face of adversity and hardship. Jesus was "meek and humble of heart" Matthew A person that is meek is one that exhibits self-control. Augustine advises us to be meek in the face of the Lord, and not resist but be obedient to him.

Obedience and submission to the will of God are certainly not in vogue these days, but they will bring one peace in this world and in the next. Justice and righteousness in the New Covenant indicate the fulfillment of God's will in your heart and soul. It is not mere observance of the law Matthew , but rather an expression of brotherly love I John A continuous desire for justice and moral perfection will lead one to a fulfillment of that desire - a transition and conversion to holiness. This is true for all the virtues - if you hunger and thirst for temperance, you will head towards the goal you have in mind.

Augustine called the Beatitudes the ideal for every Christian life! In his discourse on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, he noted the correspondence of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and their necessity in fulfilling the Beatitudes. For example, one must have the gift of fortitude so one may be courageous in seeking social justice. Mercy is the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress.

What the Beatitudes Teach

Love , compassion, and forgiveness towards a family member or neighbor will bring peace in your relationships. We say in the Lord's Prayer : Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. As we are merciful to others, we pray our Heavenly Father will be merciful to us! Jesus reminds us that whatever "you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me" Matthew Paul calls for the obedience of faith in the beginning and end of his Letter to the Romans , The following are ways to be merciful to others as well as to be obedient in faith to Christ our Savior.

God is hidden. But Jesus says the pure of heart shall see God! To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. What a beautiful goal! How many times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal gain? Such an act is pure love.

An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all. Peace is also a fruit of the Spirit Galatians Peacemakers not only live peaceful lives but also try to bring peace and friendship to others, and to preserve peace between God and man. But one cannot give another what one does not possess oneself. Praying for peace will help change your heart.

The Lord wants you first to be filled with the blessings of peace and then to pass it on to those who have need of it.

Examples of Living Out the Beatitudes

By imitating God's love of man, the peacemakers become children of God. The biblical passage continues to elaborate: "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 who were before you" Matthew Jesus said many times that those who follow Him will be persecuted. Before his Conversion , Saul persecuted the early Church in Jerusalem, which scattered the Christians throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria Acts Peter advised "Whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name" I Peter The Woman who brought forth the male child destined to rule all nations with an iron rod was persecuted in Revelation Stephen, Peter and Paul, nearly all of the Apostles, and many Christians in the Roman era suffered martyrdom.


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Maximilian Kolbe offered his life in place of a stranger at the Auschwitz death camps on August 14, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor who was hanged on April 9, for condemning the leadership of Hitler in Nazi Germany. Christopher Magallanes, St. Another Central American martyr was Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was assassinated while saying Mass at Divine Providence Hospital on March 24, for speaking out against government human rights violations.

Middle Eastern Christians have suffered severe persecution since the crises in Iraq and Syria. In July the terrorist Islamic State marked remaining Christian homes in Mosul with the Arabic letter Noon - for Nazarene, Nasrani, or Nasara - and advised residents that they have 24 hours to leave, convert to Islam, or die. Only in verse 9 , the Vulgate and many other ancient authorities omit the pronoun autoi, ipsi ; probably a merely accidental ommission. There is room, too, for serious critical doubt , whether verse 5 should not be placed before verse 4.

Only the etymological connection, which in the original is supposed to have existed between the "poor" and the "meek", makes us prefer the order of the Vulgate. Some scholars would attach to the former word also the sense of humility ; others think of "beggars before God " humbly acknowledging their need of Divine help. But the opposition of "rich" Luke points especially to the common and obvious meaning, which, however, ought not to be confined to economical need and distress, but may comprehend the whole of the painful condition of the poor : their low estate, their social dependence, their defenceless exposure to injustice from the rich and the mighty.

Besides the Lord's blessing , the promise of the heavenly kingdom is not bestowed on the actual external condition of such poverty.

Matthew 5:3-16

The blessed ones are the poor "in spirit ", who by their free will are ready to bear for God's sake this painful and humble condition, even though at present they be actually rich and happy ; while on the other hand, the really poor man may fall short of this poverty "in spirit ". Second beatitude Inasmuch as poverty is a state of humble subjection, the "poor in spirit ", come near to the "meek", the subject of the second blessing.

The anawim , they who humbly and meekly bend themselves down before God and man , shall "inherit the land" and possess their inheritance in peace. This is a phrase taken from Psalm , where it refers to the Promised Land of Israel , but here in the words of Christ , it is of course but a symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven , the spiritual realm of the Messiah. Not a few interpreters, however, understand "the earth". But they overlook the original meaning of Psalm , and unless, by a far-fetched expedient, they take the earth also to be a symbol of the Messianic kingdom , it will be hard to explain the possession of the earth in a satisfactory way.

Third beatitude The "mourning" in the Third Beatitude is in Luke opposed to laughter and similar frivolous worldly joy. Motives of mourning are not to be drawn from the miseries of a life of poverty, abjection, and subjection, which are the very blessings of verse 3 , but rather from those miseries from which the pious man is suffering in himself and in others, and most of all the tremendous might of evil throughout the world.

To such mourners the Lord Jesus carries the comfort of the heavenly kingdom , "the consolation of Israel " Luke foretold by the prophets , and especially by the Book of Consolation of Isaias Even the later Jews knew the Messiah by the name of Menahhem , Consoler. These three blessings , poverty, abjection, and subjection are a commendation of what nowadays are called the passive virtues : abstinence and endurace , and the Eighth Beatitude verse 10 leads us back again to the teaching. Fourth beatitude The others, however, demand a more active behaviour.

First of all, "hunger and thirst" after justice : a strong and continuous desire of progress in religious and moral perfection , the reward of which will be the very fulfilment of the desire, the continuous growth in holiness. Fifth beatitude From this interior desire a further step should be taken to acting to the works of "mercy", corporal and spiritual.

Through these the merciful will obtain the Divine mercy of the Messianic kingdom , in this life and in the final judgment.


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  • The wonderful fertility of the Church in works and institutions of corporal and spiritual mercy of every kind shows the prophetical sense, not to say the creative power, of this simple word of the Divine Teacher. Sixth beatitude According to biblical terminology, "cleanness of heart" verse 8 cannot exclusively be found in interior chastity , nor even, as many scholars propose, in a general purity of conscience , as opposed to the Levitical , or legal, purity required by the Scribes and Pharisees.

    At least the proper place of such a blessing does not seem to be between mercy verse 7 and peacemaking verse 9 , nor after the apparently more far-reaching virtue of hunger and thirst after justice. But frequently in the Old and New Testaments Genesis ; Job , Psalms and ; 1 Timothy ; 2 Timothy the "pure heart" is the simple and sincere good intention , the "single eye" of Matthew , and thus opposed to the unavowed by-ends of the Pharisees Matthew , ; ; , 14 This "single eye" or "pure heart" is most of all required in the works of mercy verse 7 and zeal verse 9 in behalf of one's neighbor.

    And it stands to reason that the blessing , promised to this continuous looking for God's glory , should consist of the supernatural "seeing" of God Himself , the last aim and end of the heavenly kingdom in its completion. Seventh beatitude The "peacemakers" verse 9 are those who not only live in peace with others but moreover do their best to preserve peace and friendship among mankind and between God and man , and to restore it when it has been disturbed.

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    It is on account of this godly work, "an imitating of God's love of man " as St. Gregory of Nyssa styles it, that they shall be called the sons of God, "children of your Father who is in heaven " Matthew Eighth beatitude When after all this the pious disciples of Christ are repaid with ingratitude and even "persecution" verse 10 it will be but a new blessing , "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    The pious, whose sentiments and desires whose works and sufferings are held up before us, shall be blessed and happy by their share in the Messianic kingdom , here and hereafter. And viewed in the intermediate verses seem to express, in partial images of the one endless beatitude , the same possession of the Messianic salvation. The eight conditions required constitute the fundamental law of the kingdom , the very pith and marrow of Christian perfection.

    For its depth and breadth of thought, and its practical bearing on Christian life, the passage may be put on a level with the Decalogue in the Old , and the Lord's Prayer in the New Testament , and it surpassed both in its poetical beauty of structure. Sources Besides the commentaries on St. Matthew and St.