The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They take up the promises made to the chosen people since Abraham. The Beatitudes fulfill the promises by ordering them no longer merely to the possession of a territory, but to the Kingdom of heaven: (2546) (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
The Beatitudes were delivered in the “Sermon on the Mount” by Jesus and recorded in Chapter 5 of Mathew’s gospel. Each begins with “Blessed are…”
On August 6 in a weekly audience to over 6000 people, our pontiff, Pope Frances, reflected on how Christ built on what was given to Moses, telling Christians why they need to know the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5:3-12, as well as the Ten Commandments.
“The Beatitudes are the path that God indicates as the answer to man’s innate desire for happiness, and they perfect the Commandments of the Old Covenant,” Pope Francis told this daily audience at the Vatican. He had the audience repeat the Beatitudes after him.
There are eight Beatitudes and they begin with: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
At the end of the world, we will be judged. God will ask us: Did you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner? The pope added that on Judgment Day, “We will not have titles, credit or privileges on which to stake our claims.”
“The Lord will recognize us if, in our turn, we recognized him in the poor, in the hungry, in the indigent and the outcast, in those who suffer and are alone,” he said. “This is one of the fundamental criteria for evaluating our Christian life, which Jesus calls us to measure up to every day. I read the Beatitudes and I think of how my Christian life should be, and then I examine my conscience with this Chapter 5 of Matthew. Every day: I did this, I did this, I did this. It will do us good! They are simple but concrete things.”
Living according to the beatitudes and the criteria listed in Matthew 5, he said, should fill each Christian with joy because together “they make our Christian life a beautiful and credible witness to the love of God for all the brothers and sisters we meet each day.”
Are you familiar with the Beatitudes? The pope has asked us to memorize them, as these are paths to true happiness. The Beatitudes give us a glimpse of how each of us needs to live our lives in his Kingdom on earth and to gain the blessings of the kingdom to come for each of us. How will you live out the Beatitudes in your life?
Submitted by: Sharon Shipley Zubricky ‘76